In the movie Forrest Gump, there is a very memorable line that Forrest declares at key points; “And that’s all I’ve got to say about that”! Because it is so memorable, I was surprised when I reflected on the movie and realized it was only heralded three times. The first time Forrest proclaimed those words was in Washington, DC at the Vietnam War protest in front of the Washington Monument reflecting pool. Forrest was asked by Abbie Hoffman to say a few words about the war. It’s a humorous moment because Forrest supposedly gives an inspirational and very moving message. Ironically, Forrest’s speech is never actually heard as the PA system wires were unplugged by the army general. The mic comes back on just in time to hear Forrest’s famous proclamation. The second time the line was uttered Forrest was sitting on the park bench concluding his tale of the War story where Lt. Dan was rescued and Bubba died on the beach. The third and final time Forrest uses the line is when he eulogizes his mother, “She had got the cancer and died on a Tuesday. I bought her a new hat with little flowers on it. And that’s all I have to say about that.”
Each time Forrest voiced the line was upon narrating a dramatic and painful personal event. He was serious and reflective in his story and he concluded by affirming that there was nothing more to say. What if we could speak that powerfully and plainly in each aspect of our lives? What if we utilized powerful and direct speaking not only in times of pain and sorrow but also times of happiness? What if our communication in our daily lives was direct and to the point? How might the workplace and our relationships benefit from such straightforward speaking?
Do you ever notice when listening to others that their story seems to go on and on and on and on? You can’t wait to hear them exclaim, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that!” If you could will them to say it, it would have been declared long before. It’s easy to recognize mindless blabber when we’re the listener. But as the speaker, are you guilty of the same? Are your stories rambling and unclear? Do they tend to go on and on and on?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good story. The movie Forrest Gump was an excellent story, and the individual stories that Forrest told within the movie were fast moving, informative and to the point. Of course the best Hollywood writers and film editors have that talent. Unfortunately, we as individuals don’t have the luxury of scriptwriters beforehand and the ability to re-take a conversation if it doesn’t go as planned. The spontaneity of life requires us to think fast on our feet.
So what can we do? First and foremost I say be aware of our speaking. Our language is a beautiful tool used to communicate our ideas, goals, and desires. Sometimes it’s strictly for entertainment, but most often it’s for business or the business of life. As you become more aware of your speaking, you may notice that you’re being repetitive and imprecise. If you notice others not paying attention as you speak, or losing attention as you go on, then there is a good opportunity for improvement. Remembering Forrest’s line, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that” may be the tool you’ll want to adapt in speaking more succinctly and directly. Your message will be delivered more powerfully and you’ll be heard more clearly by others. Forrest’s simple line helps makes clear our complicated language and communication styles.
And That’s All I’ve Got to Say About That!
Next Blog Title: It Happens!
Next Blog Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010