Toward more colourful communication
on December 1, 2015 in News

Toward more colourful communication

Don’t you just love howlers?

I read in a leading newspaper the other day that police have put out a warning to householders to be on the lookout for rouge workmen. Should be easy enough to spot. Some big hairy plumber turning up at your door caked in Bobbi Brown Pastel Peach blusher is a bit of a giveaway, no? Especially if teamed up with a light application of Dior Addict Collagen Active lip gloss.

Howlers abound in all walks of life, sports being a great example, and the demise of David Coleman, the legendary commentator famous for his Colemanballs – most of them far too rude to include in a respectable post – robbed us of a prime source of mirth.

So, in the interests of more colourful communication, let me offer a few of my favourites, for instance, these two from the wonderful world of motor insurance claims: ‘The car in front hit the pedestrian, but he got up so I hit him again.’ and ‘I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.’

And from the mouths of those court lawyers who seem unable to manage their briefs: Question: ‘Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?’ Answer: ‘All my autopsies are performed on dead people.’ and ‘Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?’

Newspapers inevitably come top of the league with headlines like ‘Additional police on the streets to cut crime committed by Lib Dems’ and ‘Man accused of murdering mother in court’ (I wonder if there were any witnesses and how long it took the bobbies to nab him).

You might hope for a slightly higher standard from politicians and you wouldn’t be disappointed by this gem from a Congressional candidate in Texas: ‘That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.’ Yes, quite.

Of course you wouldn’t expect a communication expert like myself to make such schoolboy errors, so I won’t mention the presentation I made some years ago when, with some pizazz and the full authority of an expert in my subject, I showed a PowerPoint slide making a very important point that was meant to refer to the public sector.

For spellcheck read l-check.

Norrie Gilliland
November 2015

A Sideways Look at OD: One of a series of occasional articles about the ‘other world’ of OD. Find them at and follow us on LinkedIn.

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