New communication lessons from Thomas Edison

20th November 2018

Thomas Edison once said “vision without execution is a hallucination.”

In other words, having a great idea – but not acting on it – won’t get you very far.

Similarly, “communication without action is pointless.”

In other words, having a great communication – which nobody acts on after hearing it – won’t get you very far either.

So the #1 rule of communication…


This means the #1 bit of your communication is your Call To Action – where you ask someone to DO something. So:

  • End meetings with “actions arising” (what shall we DO?), not “any other business” (let’s keep talking)
  • Finish emails with “please can you do X” not “should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call” (trust me on this: they won’t call)
  • On your presentations’ final slides, say “next steps?” (what shall we DO?), not “thank you” (I’m so grateful)
  • And end all Tuesday Tips with an…

Action Point

For your next communication, start by thinking “what do I want them to DO?”, not “what am I going to say?”. Do this, and they’re much more likely to DO it.

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