As shared in previous blogs, my husband spent the first few years of our marriage in the Navy. Fun fact -- we didn’t even live together the first 9 months of our marriage. Scott sailed away on his ship a few weeks after the wedding, and I returned to Texas A&M to finish my degree. I did meet the ship in Italy during my Christmas break, and as luck would have it, his ship returned to Virginia during my spring break as a student teacher so I was able to meet him and find a place to live. But the rest of the time I lived in College Station and then with my parents in Houston for student teaching. After graduation, my mom and I traveled to Norfolk where I started the actual “married life” with Scott, and we had the best time living in Virginia! With no kids and few financial obligations, we loved the area and traveling (I met his ship in some great places), but most of all, we enjoyed meeting people and making new friends And for each introduction, Scott would say, “This is Julie, my beautiful and vivacious wife.” “Beautiful and vivacious”?? Although Scott swears that the compliment is real, I did learn that Scott’s Executive Officer (the #2 guy on the ship) always introduced his wife using a similar phrase. Scott liked the added positivity to the introduction, and with long separations and intense work and duty schedules, I think using this addition to an introduction showed a bit of appreciation and praise each time Scott used it. And guess what? It totally worked! I did feel loved and appreciated each time that Scott introduced me as “Julie, my beautiful and vivacious wife.”
Now for a quick grammar lesson -- that phrase “my beautiful and vivacious wife” is called an appositive which is a noun or noun phrase that renames, identifies, or explains the noun right beside it. Using an appositive is like seamlessly including bonus information designed to help more clearly share a message. As we all strive to more clearly communicate, why don’t we all work to include appositives? It’s really easy -- work to provide “bonus information” or appositives for all the people, places, and things you discuss.
People - When you share a person’s name, identify the person’s position or role using an appositive. The added information will avoid confusion in case the receiver doesn’t know the person, doesn’t know the person’s role, or if there are 3 “Bills” in a company or organization.
Yesterday I met with Bill, the project manager, to discuss …
Susan, the super organized chairperson, asked us to …
Places - Again, add clarification to avoid any misunderstandings by sharing the company or organization’s name.
Yesterday I met with Bill, the project manager at Company X, to discuss …
Susan, the super organized chairperson of the budget committee, asked us to …
Things - Back in August of last year, I discussed strategies for helping others understand your profession or company’s jargon (See the blog, FYI). I shared that you should make it a habit to use appositives (and synonyms) to clarify and to always share what an acronym stands for by using the words too.
Using appositives, noun or noun phrases that rename the noun right beside it, will help clarify your message. (Like how I did that one?!)
The students loved DEAR, Drop Everything and Read, time!
As you can see from the blog’s title, you can even work to make your appositive a positive one to encourage and appreciate others. As you identify Bill or Susan, add a positive quality -- “super organized chairperson.” But remember to only use a sincere compliment!
etc Strategies believes that using appositives to add “bonus information” will clarify your communication message and lead to a more effective communication experience. And I still like it when Scott introduces me as his “beautiful and vivacious wife”!!