Stop with the Wandering Generalities, Please. Get Specific.

Wandering generalities are a plague on humanity. When in doubt, people hide behind bland, useless, and often misleading statements. Below I show three examples of these typical types of statements and how to make them meaningfully specific.

Wandering GeneralitiesMeaningfully Specific Translation
1. “We’re a great company.”1. “We are a powerful company, leading three important business sectors, digitalization, transmission efficiency and end user acceptance.”
2. “Everybody loves our company.”2. “We use three techniques every month to test our customer acceptance: direct contact with key users; short, direct questionnaires; and, seeking testimonials.”
3. “We’ve successfully dealt with this problem in the past.”3. “We made three crucial improvements in this process starting four years ago: first, we significantly reduced defects; second, we began more careful education of our customers; and third, we introduced a monitoring program to catch defects earlier.”

Translate Generalities into Specificity

Rather than say:

  • Everyone…name them
  • Everybody…name them
  • They…say specifically who
  • That…say specifically what
  • Theirs…name or itemize them
  • Those…name or specifically identify what it is
  • It’s…Again identify what It’s is
  • Her…name her
  • His…name him

You get the idea.

Generalities are barriers to understanding and actually help people miss the importance of what you are trying to communicate.

More GeneralitiesMeaningfully Specific Translation
1. “Everything will be fine, we’ve been through this before.”1. “We live by three success initiatives: start early; stay customer engaged; and follow up for results. These three initiatives will work to improve our accuracy, activity, and performance.”
2. “I’ve always enjoyed their work.”2. “The strategy teams work is essential to our success. We need their accuracy, their persistence, and their intuitiveness.”
3. “They’ve always been a championship outfit.”3. “Mary and Bill always show their leadership, their skill, and their consistent responsiveness.”
4. “This idea is very important.”4. “Our success depends on three crucial ingredients: speed, accuracy, and choosing a limited number of targets.”

Also see Packing and Bundling.

© Copyright 2023, James E. Lukaszewski. America’s Crisis Guru®Get permission to reproduce or quote. Contact the copyright holder,