Speak English by Bill Storie

Bill Storie and Robin Trimingham are the co-founders of The Olderhood Group – an online retirement learning environment with over 70,000 global followers. In 2013 they launched a retirement planning blog which focuses on the issues related to the transition from the workplace to a... Read More

Speak English by Bill Storie

We have thousands of Facebook Followers whose native language is not English and even though we try to insist on their postings to be in English we sometimes turn the blind eye. So no issues with that.

But that’s not my point.

I am referring to all those clever people we have in every society who are determined to use flowery, big words to try and explain something to idiots like me. They seem to think that if they use fancy words like “paradigm shift” that I will be impressed. I won’t.

Instead of getting me to understand their point I usually turn off and their efforts are wasted. They could be making a tremendous announcement about something to change the world but if I don’t understand it, then the point is lost. Do you think they know that?

If they do know that then why persist?

To show off.

I was watching a news broadcast a few nights ago. The news reader was referring to a new product line for a local company. He was reading their press release which seems a bit lazy to me. However, the press release had clearly been written by some geek at the company in his language. The words made no sense whatsoever. Where do they get these people?

Talk to me in simple words and explain it to me as if I’m an old geezer (well, maybe I am anyway !!!).

It’s the same with instructions that come with new gadgets. A lot of electronics etc come these days from China. Fair enough. But they insist on including instructions in “English” but, and no disrespect to China, why can’t they get someone whose native language is in fact English. They make a valiant attempt to get it right but typically you end up working it out yourself. Why can’t the importing company tell the production company to change their instructions. They don’t care. They don’t care that their customers have difficulty understanding the manual. Shame really.

I have attended tons of investment presentations over many years. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have had to listen to some expert tell me how clever he is. They use words and phrases that simply do not afford the listener any chance to understand. So, instead of helping me understand how to look after my money I end up knowing less after the presentation than I did before. And they always make it sound like I’m a complete idiot and that if I don’t follow their dramatic instructions then I will lose all my money.

Speak English. Talk to me in simple words and don’t scare me.

I’m either going to stop going to these silly events or I’ll start holding my own, where English will prevail.

Of course, it should be pointed out that my strong Scottish accent can sometimes be a drawback. Whenever I do a presentation most people are kind – they listen, smile and applaud when I finish. The chances are that they never understood me, but they are generally very courteous. One time I will speak in the thickest of Scottish accents I can come up with – then they would have no chance.

By Bill Storie