1. MORE OR LESS

15-03-2018

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines blog as: "online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer". Well, this is my first blog on the new CPLS site and so let it be a collage of my reflections at this point in time. And let's see how we go from there ...


A new address and a new website. Not quite a journey from A to Z but B to Z (Z being Zoetermeer). Back in the late 1980s as I was whiling away the idle moments sandwiched between the edge of Borneo's rainforest and a strip of sand along the South China Sea, my thoughts turned to Europe and my burning desire to take up a new challenge: to get out there - wherever that may be - and test my mettle. From the comfort and luxury of the Sultanate of Brunei to the competitive mash of a very different kind of jungle delta. I was up for the challenge, and so I left the tax-free dollars, papaya trees and Singapore shopping sprees to pitch communication as the tool that can give businesses and organisations a competitive edge in an increasingly international marketplace. It was not just about getting the message out there but getting it onboarded! About capturing attention or influencing opinion.

And if I think about being captivating and influential, I can do no better than recall reading 'A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawking. In all the tributes following the death of this brilliant mind over the past few days, it is clear that despite his physical limitations, one of his greatest gifts was his ability to communicate highly complex subject matter with amazing clarity. Great communicators are able to see through the 'sludge' and pick out the relevance of the things that really matter.

And that brings me to a phrase that has become almost a cliché through excessive use: "less is more". Whether that's in reference to energy, materials or words, it is a reflection of the growing awareness about waste, in every sense of the word. Hawking's universe is precious, the planet we inhabit is precious, the time we have is precious. But less is more is not so much about minimalism but about making choices. You can ask yourself whether electric driving really is a 'green' choice or a conscience pleaser? Where does that electricity come from? Is the source itself green? We should not allow ourselves to be fooled.

English is sometimes cited by non-native speakers as being 'wordy'. I remember teaching the language of negotiation to a hardened bunch of commercial sales managers who argued that 'no' was a strong statement of assertion and strength. Well, I saw their point of view but perhaps looking at the problem from a different perspective might shift the stance and allow an impasse to be broken, opening the door to a possible solution to suit both parties ... In this situation, less was certainly less of a result whereas more did offer the negotiability to arrive at a result.

And if we do practise the 'less is more' philosophy, does that mean that we have more - of whatever that is - at our disposal? And what do we do with the more that we do have. For example, time. It seems that no-one has more time. So much to be done, no time to do it. Being at the end of the communication chain, I frequently get asked to edit or write or translate a text that has to be ready yesterday! Clearly, more is less in this case. But that's where what I call quantum translating comes into its own. Quantum translating? Queuing and stacking, linear ... that doesn't work when there is more to do in less time. So why not work horizontally, in parallel, and reduce time to particles? Being able to kill two birds with one stone. If this means less is more, then I'm a convert ... more or less!

Feel free to respond to my blog ... but in this case, more is more!


- Chris