What people do on First Dates – and a surprising lesson for our comms

17th January 2017

I just learned something very interesting about First Dates…

I was reading an article on the BBC site about people’s breakfast habits.

Increasingly, we’re breakfasting in restaurants, not our homes.

Lots of reasons – better quality food, more choice, restaurants open earlier, they’re good places to get things done early, better coffee than you get at home, and so on.

It also said people on First Dates often meet for breakfast, rather than going out in the evening.

I know – it sounds odd, doesn’t it?

But then, as I read on, it makes perfect sense.

It’s much less stressful meeting for breakfast than in the evening. It’s easier to get there on time; to look your best. You aren’t as tired. You’re less likely to drink alcohol, and all the challenges that can bring. There’s a clear reason to leave without causing offence. And, of course, there’s no awkward discussions about where to go next.

In fact, here’s what happened to my mindset as I read this:

  • I’ve never heard that before
  • It can’t be true, can it?
  • Ah, I get it
  • Yes, that makes perfect sense
  • In fact, it’s so obvious
  • Of course – why doesn’t every First Date do this?

So, utter surprise to total conviction in one article!

My customers tell me they go on a similar journey when I teach them this rule about communication:

       It isn’t what you say. It’s what you cause.

In other words, the least important thing about the communication is the communication itself.

Much more important is what happens after it. Did they do what you wanted? Feel the way you wanted? Make better decisions? Look at you differently? Recommend you to others? Something else?

And, given that your communication isn’t as important as what happens after it, the first step of your prep is not “what do I want to say?”

Instead, it’s “what do I want them to do after I’ve shut up?”

Once you know this, work backwards from there, to find the simplest, quickest, best content to make sure they do it.

So, when I wrote this Tip, what did I want you to do after reading it? Other than go on a Breakfast First Date, of course. Well, two things…

Action point

  1. For next communication – the one you’re about to make – ask yourself “what do I want them to do after I’ve shut up?” Then, base what you say on achieving that (sometimes it’s as simple as just saying ‘Please will you do X?’
  2. Read these comments. And, if you like them, join the club

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