It goes without saying


A phrase that’s been showing up recently is, “no pressure.” It usually comes in a pitch letter of some sort, written by someone who isn’t in a position to exert any pressure.

So why say it?

It’s a bit like, “while supplies last.” And “to be honest…” which is perhaps the most self-negating of the three.

It’s throat-clearing, a word salad designed to somehow establish a connection or at least the appearance of empathy or clear thought.

Semiotics is the science of signs and symbols. A stop sign isn’t a stop sign unless it looks like a stop sign, and that song they sing on your birthday means something really different if people whisper it quietly.

It’s tempting to simply focus our attention on the text itself. That we should say what we mean and mean what we say. But messages merely begin with the text. The rhythm, presentation, source, and context deliver most of what we take away from a message.

Watching a video with the sound off communicates far more than we realize.

And one way to develop a style of writing is to skip the salad. Simply say what you mean.


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