I saw a presentation at a BNI Conference a couple years ago by Chick Gallagher, my Executive Director in Delaware and part of Pennsylvania.
In his presentation he talked about “perception” being relative and how small things can substantially alter one’s perception. On one of his Power Point slides he had the words:
A woman without her man is nothing.
As you might suspect, it got loud boos from the audience. Then, he added two commas to the wording. It still fell in disfavor with the audience (especially the women):
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
Finally, without changing any words he simply changed the first comma to a colon and moved the second comma to a different place in order to make this sentence:
A woman: without her, man is nothing.
As you might suspect – this sentence got loud applause from the audience (especially the women). His point was that small changes in communication can completely alter the meaning of what is being communicated.
Punctuation is like people’s perception. A minor change can make a big difference in how the message is received and understood.
Have you run into this during your lifetime? If so, share it here.
ps. Before I posted this blog, I showed it to my wife. She told me about a FaceBook page called: Let’s Eat Grandma OR Let’s Eat, Grandma. The site says – see, punctuation saves lives!