What is Telegraphing

Generally, this is a sign of the beginner who gives too detailed an introduction, making the setup so obvious that the audience can anticipate the ending of the story.

Here's an example:

Jack Ellis, director of development (fund-raising) for Ohio University was being given a testimonial dinner. One speaker told the story of the carnival strong man who wet a towel and then squeezed every drop of water out of it. Then he offered to bet anyone in the audience fifty dollars that they couldn't squeeze out just one more drop. Up sprang our guest of honor, and sure enough, he squeezed out three drops. "Who in the devil are you?" asked the strong man. And the man said, "I'm a fund raiser for Ohio University."

Another fund-raising story, which doesn't telegraph the ending as much, would have been better:

You've probably all read about one of our most wealthy alums who has given many large gifts to our university. One day he was missing. His wife didn't know where he was. His business partners couldn't find him. Even the FBI couldn't locate him. The only one who knew where he was day after day was Jack Ellis.

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