Rhetoric: the art of speaking or writing effectively (Merriam Webster)
The recent tragic event in Arizona has added fuel to “rhetoric” bashing. From bandwagon politicians to the mass media, many are calling for the toning down of rhetoric. When did “the art of speaking or writing effectively” become a bad thing?
I suggest that the word many are searching for is:
Hyperbole: extravagant exaggeration (Merriam Webster)
Hyperbole seems to be the thing that is driving us nuts. From the politicians who exaggerate their opinions and accomplishments to the talking heads on the network news programs who turn Verizon-Gets-the-iPhone into a week long breaking news story.
Then there are the marketing folks. Have you seen the HP television commercial where the mom digitally cuts and pastes members of her family to get the perfect family photo, making her life so much happier? Isn't that a bit extreme (i.e. extravagant exaggeration)?
When giving a presentation, your audience demands and deserves that you be truthful and authentic. It's a pretty noisy world out there, and it is the refreshingly straightforward message that gets through.
Let's keep up the rhetoric and tone down the hyperbole.