One problem can be too many…

29th October 2013

Last week, I was taking a shower in a hotel. There was only one thing wrong with it: every now and again, the water suddenly went blisteringly hot for a few seconds. Each time, I had to leap out of the cubicle, wait for it to sort itself out, then I would clamber back in. This happened 4-5 times during the shower…

The good news about my shower was: there was only one problem with it. No more. Just the one.

The bad news: that one thing was really annoying.

Sometimes, when we communicate, we know that it isn’t perfect. But we say to ourselves, ‘well, it’s only one thing that isn’t quite right. So it isn’t too bad’.

And, sometimes this ‘one thing’ doesn’t matter.

But sometimes it really does. And the fact there’s only one of them is irrelevant. It’s too big a problem.

For example, I’ve seen people deliver presentations for £multi-million deals with spelling mistakes on their slides. I once attended a course on ‘building your confidence’, run by two very nervous presenters. I’ve been told by my bank that I’m very important to them, and then received a standard cut-and-paste letter beginning “Dear customer”.

I’m not advocating spending ridiculous amounts of time making things perfect. But they do have to be good enough. And, there can’t be ‘one thing’ which will undermine everything you’re communicating.

After all, there was only one thing wrong with the Titanic…

Action point

Identify your most important communication today. What’s the ‘one thing’ that might underwhelm your audience? Is it bad enough that you need to do something about it?

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