Kevin D Thompson – Fuzzy Language

Fuzzy Language

Fuzzy Language

What is it?

Fuzzy Language is wording or phrasing that leaves wiggle room for interpretation. 

Why is it important?

The use of Fuzzy Language is a fundamental tool for people who wish to appear decisive and committal yet really are not willing or confident in making hard and fast commitments. Using these words makes it sound like there is an agreement or contract, but in reality there is nothing here to put trust into - and usually people who do enter into such loosely defined contracts are disappointed in the end.

Fuzzy Language is comprised of words such as usually, likely, probably, sort of, kind of like, mostly, I think, ASAP, pretty soon, before too long, a lot, a little, maybe...you get the idea? Words that are subject to interpretation by the listener are the key to recognizing Fuzzy Language. These words are not completely inappropriate, but are often used with disasterous results when included in contracts or agreements because the potential gap in assumed values of the speaker and listener (in other words the seller and buyer respectively).

Fuzzy Language phrases sound may sound like this: Well I don't see any reason why we wouldn't give this serious consideration - Everything looks pretty good, we'll get back to you - We will be making a decision pretty soon - I really like it and it seems like it will work well...are any of these phrases telling you anything committal? No - not really.

If you can learn to recognize these, you can alert yourself to get clarification as to just what exactly ASAP means to the other person - you may be surprised as you discover wide discrepencies between the perceived values of you and your conversational partner. Right here is a great place to begin avoiding mismatched expectations and begin building better contracts with others.

You may find that ASAP meant taking action right away to you...but the end of tomorrow, next week, next month or even next year for the other person.