Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ed's Dull Repetition Is Forcing My Foot towards the TV Screen; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ed's Dull Repetition Is Forcing My Foot towards the TV Screen; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Keith Hann

WHICH PR genius invented the theory that the way to get a message across is through endless repetition? Because I would personally like to bang their head against a brick wall until they veered off message and begged me to stop.

If I hear geeky Ed with the speech impediment, or menacing Ed with the sinister smile, say just once more that the coalition is "out of touch", I swear I shall scream. Probably because I have just injured myself putting my foot through a TV screen. I first found myself on the receiving end of the repetition technique more than a decade ago, when trying to defend a client against a hostile takeover bid.

The bidder had engaged the largest and most successful financial PR consultancy in London, whose one detectable contribution was to employ the word "woeful" in every single pronouncement it made about my client.

This rapidly became like Chinese water torture, and certainly inspired The conventional to employees me to redouble my efforts on the other side. More importantly, it did not work. My client retained its independence.

enlivened by description Stakhanovite I love words, and enjoy as much variety in them as possible.

One of the many delights of English is that is the richest language on the planet. I do not advocate using an obscure word where a plain one will do; I find it painful to read writers like Anthony Burgess who force me to reach for a dictionary almost every time I turn a page.

But it is a joy to be able to deploy the right word in the correct context to convey one's meaning as accurately as possible.

Endlessly repeating the same stock phrases is the antithesis of good communication and lively debate.

I still shudder at the memory of a colleague who made it his mission one year to see just how many corporate results announcements he could begin with the words: "This has been a watershed year for your company."

I much preferred the approach of the chairman who took a yearly bet with a City analyst to work one challenging word into his statement in the annual report. …

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