ParaguasIs one word too simple? Is that really all we need to describe the important or meaningful things in our lives? Can we really distill (in a meaningful way) what a leader is, what our best quality is, how we want to be remembered down to one word?

I have grown increasingly despondent with the discussion streams that come up asking me (because it’s social media it IS all about me, right) to help describe something in one word.  I’m despondent because it’s hard to do and it’s incredibly insufficient.  Even there, “insufficient” alone is not sufficient enough!

What skill do I want more of or what one word best describes my communication style.  Well, I guess with this post, I would be abandoning the word “brief” as the answer to that question. I know that I ought to be concise and to the point but I end up spending so much more time trying to pare down my thoughts to one word than I would have writing one or two sentences.  You?

Are we really in such a hurry to read and absorb and move on that we have to go from the length of a tweet to one simple word? You know, many years ago a group of people started a slow food revolution and so many found it refreshing.  The intent, I think, was not for a meal to last all day with this initiative, but at least longer than 15 minutes at the lunch counter – more than a bite, a meal.  Take a breath, enjoy the food and some company if you’re lucky.

Well, I’m going all radical on you all. Let’s have a MULTI-WORD revolution.  Yes, it will take you a few moments to read one entry instead of twenty entries but what a gold mine! What more you may be able to glean when someone expands on that ONE WORD to help describe what it means to him or her.  In Brene Brown’s Book, Daring Greatly, she writes about how people are made to connect.  In my experience it’s very difficult to connect with someone when they give one-word answers.  You may get a lovely plate with garnish, but the real meal is missing.  What might the full course be and how much more lovely the flavor of the article you may “eat” if you had more than one small part of it?

I love all you featured contributors, aspiring writers of books and articles, well-intentioned folks looking for motivational snippets.  I love that you prompt people to think about lofty or ideal things – Hats off to you for starting the conversation. However, I have to ask, what is it that we are REALLY trying to understand from folks in the virtual space when we ask the one-word-answer questions? Do we really want to know what people are thinking or are we trying to gather adjectives to use in the next article, book, or team meeting?

Do we dare to risk getting personal with our collections of friends, colleagues, or network members in the virtual world by asking individuals to put more than one-word descriptions in the tiny comment box? I hope so. I hope we become participants with the real people in our forums and that we seek to really understand the “why” behind the ONE WORD. Wouldn’t that be great?

I have one word for it: Yum.