Ah, yes, focus– it’s an often overlooked aspect of effective communication. You can be eloquent, you can be shocking, you can have a vocabulary that dwarfs the most talented orators, you can even be right, but unless you understand how to focus your language– you’re wasting everyone’s time. Think of it like the Death Star’s superlaser– you want everything to come together with enough force to fuck a planet, and your individual sentences lack the firepower do the job by themselves.
The first, and perhaps biggest, point I’m going to harp on has to do with subject matter. Let’s say you’ve unwisely taken a stroll into the comments section of (pick a website). Of course, every comment section is bound to feature the absolute best minds the internet can dredge up (still applies to “moderated” ones). Naturally, while surfing said anal fissures of humanity, you invariably stumble over a nugget of shit that just begs to be cast asunder and flushed. Your keyboard is your machine gun, and your fingers are itching to bark the universal order to sit down and shut up.
There’s one tiny problem, you can’t stay on fucking topic. Your hailstorm of keystrokes belie your fervor, and you click “submit” thinking you just did society a favor. Next thing you know, unrelated posters have jumped in on the dingleberry’s side because you lobbed in a correlation between gun control and juvenile delinquency. Yes, I’m throwing out a hypothetical here; just roll with it. One of the absolute quickest ways to be disregarded is to add random flotsam into your argument. This counts exponentially more when you’re face-to-face with someone, because you can’t backspace in the moment. Even Timelords can’t do that.
No, dudes and dudettes, you cannot just open the floodgates and expect your brain to throw down a cohesive point at the first go. Focus, dammit! Having a discussion about education? Great, keep it about education– don’t start dragging in other shit, no matter how much you think it’s related. Newsflash– looking like a complete fucktard can often be traced back to muddling your subject matter.
That said– I’m guilty of using gratuitous segues, and I spend more of my time deleting said detritus than I actually do dropping devastating diatribes. A segue has its purposes, but it’s nothing more than an aside. It’s not the focus. Not to mention, asides absolutely must have a clear tie-in to whatever it is you think you’re saying. One sidebar isn’t a distraction. Don’t sidebar from another sidebar, making (or destroying) a point isn’t a fucking pub crawl.
The second part is the all-important premise of direction. Stop the protest right now; we all know you had a purpose behind getting in a war of words. This second part’s going to be a double-double. Firstly, if you’re keeping on target, don’t fucking double back. Yes, I realize that most people are taught to wrap up essays with a conclusion. Click the link. A conclusion is not supposed to be a full rehashing of everything you’ve said– it’s the end. Think of your wrap-up like a nail gun that’s low on ammo. Pick what you want tied back to the body of your work, but realize that you have a finite number of nails. If you’re firing more than four or five shots in your conclusion– guess what? You’re chasing your own tail, and the poor sot on the receiving end is going to be bored long before you run out of breath/keystrokes. Bored recipients = lost point.
Second half of this second half is all about “stacking” your words. Just like a blackjack dealer stacking the deck, you want to ensure that every single sentence is placed with tactical precision. This works especially well when troll hunting. Sometimes it isn’t what you say, nor how you say it, but what order you said it in. A bit vague, yes, but take a moment to think about the concept. You’ve got bombshells to drop. Do you want those to hit while they’re fresh, or do you want them reeling first? That’s right, kids, think about where you’re taking your recipient– and let each successive point build upon the foundations laid by the others.
Remember! FOCUS! You’ll be waffle-stomping dumbasses in no time.