In any endeavor involving a “paper presentation” to a third party, it is important to be fully aware of word-choice and word-usage. An overuse and overabundance of descriptive adjectives can undermine the efficacy of a presentation; the flow of sentences, the logical connections between statements, and a conclusion which follows from the major and minor premises of an argument — all in composite and aggregate form, create an impression of a linguistic Leviathan which is formidable, and thus unable to be countered.
Obviously, the facts and evidence which provide the foundation of an argument count for much. There is the old adage that, when a lawyer possesses no persuasive facts, he argues the law; if the law fails to support a client’s innocence, he argues the maudlin facts; if neither supports proof of the innocence of the client, then he merely blusters and argues.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to recognize that the Disability Retirement packet is a “paper presentation” to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
You will not be meeting with anyone. You will not be given an “in-person” interview, where one’s charm, charisma and personality may provide the persuasive foundation for an approval. Rather, it must be by the sheer convincing force of one’s logic, methodology of argumentation, facts presented and the persuasive nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job — based upon the choice of words and the application of expanding conceptual constructs. An inadvertent use of a word may become the weak link to such a paper presentation. Those times when you should have been listening to the English teacher in Grammar Class — it mattered.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire