Make the best of your message…etcetera, etcetera


“Et cetera” (“etc.”) is a Latin expression that means “and other similar things”, or “and so forth”. “Et” means “and”, “cetera” means “the rest”.

At best, judicious use of the phrase indicates that to you relate to your audience by suggesting that you share an understanding of the subject at hand: “When we purchase fresh produce at the supermarket during the winter months – lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, etcetera – we often forget that these products come from factory farms that are thousands of miles away”.

At worst, “et cetera” becomes “filler” in a messaging stream that appears to have been poorly prepared or not prepared at all. For example, one prominent and outspoken public health official in Quebec is wont to liberally intersperse his advice, his pronouncements and his bromides with the phrase. Nary a sentence is spoken without “et cetera” being heard two or three times: “Even if you’re wearing a mask and washing your hands etcetera, that does not mean that you are protected from contracting the virus, or spreading the virus, etcetera, etcetera.” Notwithstanding the delicate and critical nature of the context, use of the filler or crutch suggests the messenger did not take the time to prepare the content in such a way that it would inform in a succinct and graphic fashion. The messenger thus wastes “bandwidth” and the audience is left to tune out a spokesperson who sounds rushed, impatient, disinterested.

A wise messenger tells a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. It may be a story that the messenger has told repeatedly, but the listener is made to feel like it is being told for the first time.

Preparation, practice and a clear understanding of how media function are the keys to your success. 

2comguys will guide you. Contact us.