It’s not often that I actually learn something from the news, I mean learn something that will be useful in my own life. But I’ve picked up one little tool that is starting to have meaning for me. It’s something I may have used in the past, but somehow it has more meaning now that I know what to call it. And that is: talking points.
I’ve learned, possibly the hard way, that it is pointless to shoot my mouth off if I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve learned that a complaint or a request for special consideration should be made point by point, giving my reasons and listing how the accommodation will affect me or possibly a whole bunch of other people.
I’ve learned that, even with friends, it is not a good thing to ramble. If I tell a story I’ll keep their interest only if I give the exact details that make the story real for them, and if I have deleted all the fluff. This could be called: telling points.
If I volunteer a social sermon, or if I’m asked to speak out about something, I should probably decline unless I have a clear picture of the situation. Concerns might lead me to speak up if I have listed the pros and cons, the specific details, and my own opinions either on paper or in my mind. Maybe these are: sharing points.
Preparing talking points, and sticking with them, prevents me from wandering off subject. I’ve noticed how it’s done by politicians and I see that if I stick to my talking points I can control a conversation and protect my privacy. Cleverly I will see that we talk about what I want to talk about.
Traditionally, a wife is often very good at having talking points and sticking to them. Maybe only one talking point, when in a discussion with her husband. She’ll just keep coming back to it, because she’s planned this talking point in her head all day, and she knows she can purposely drive it home.
Teenagers also are practiced experts with talking points. Just listen to one explain why he/she should go to the late night party across town and should take the family car. Then listen to Dad. He probably has one talking point.
Still, the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, and there are times when I find another’s talking points speak louder than mine or make more sense than mine. Or there are times when my points are good but only time will prove my wisdom.