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  • Ice Chip #344

    There are thousands of examples of poor word choice that embrace our senses on a daily basis.

    As a wordsmith on a mission, I scour the lexicographical landscape to find strong congruent messages with great word choice.
    Recently I was leaving an office building after conducting a BETTER Word Choice training with an insurance agency. Waiting for the elevator, I smiled at what I saw:

    Excellent wording
    Most of the time, the message you see is shown below:

    So why focus on this example.

    In the processing of information, we are often overloaded with conflicting directions. In the case of a fire, there is no time to waist. Every second counts. In the second sign, we actually see two choices:

    Do Not Use ELEVATORS

    Remember, your mind has no image of the word “Not” so you end up “Doing” what is after the “Not”. When you remove the middle part, the confusion and potential chaos vanish as well.

    The new and better sign would read:

    In case of fire, Use STAIRWAYS

    Here is the consistent message that has been, AND will forever be, the cornerstone of Remember the Ice.


    In the top sign, it is pretty straightforward. Use exit with a caricature of going down the stairs.
    Direct – Simple – Straight forward – AND Safe

    Here is your exercise. Look around your office, workplace, dorm room, class room or home. Identify three examples of “poor word choice acting a directive” and replace them with a new, BETTER Word Choice directive.

    Go from Don’t Forget the Ice to Remember the Ice. The impact will be magnanimous!

    Empowering Regards,


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