|By Joe Bouchard|
The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.
Brevity is the soul of wit. If you try, you can keep it short. Here is a short exercise that demonstrates how extra words get in the way of a central message.
Do you know someone who rambles? They give too much information and have a difficulty in breaking down the basics.
K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple, stupid!
Get to the point.
These three sentences have two things in common. First, they encourage simplicity in conveying information. Second, they are short statements.
Conveying information is an art form. As such, a particular style of delivery might not be appreciated by all in the same way. And this is complicated further by the nature of the corrections profession. By and large, we develop and hone an attention to details.
This is a short exercise that shows how not to spread information.
“I woke with a pain in my rib. Over the last few weeks it spread from my spine to the front of my rib cage. Could it be that I am coughing too much? I find that medicine does not help. I have to breathe and the muscles cannot get a break as long as I cough. I am eating cough drops like candy. My breath smells like menthol. I should get to the doctor’s office. I do have sick time. (Cough, cough, wince, ow!) See there? That is painful. I am losing sleep and I cannot work as well as I wish. In other words, I don’t feel well today.”
Teams read their ramble statements in turn. It is up to the other teams to guess the central message.
Sometimes, we are like a speeding train on a ramble track, full speed and going on and on. The point is: Sometimes detail is necessary and sometimes it is not. This exercise is a great segue into how to write a misconduct report. This information can be covered from information or a module of the topic that you obtain from your agency’s training office.
Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.
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