Why I’m an idiot (or ‘How to find simple solutions’)

28th September 2021

Years ago, I bought a toothbrush with a tongue scraper on the back.

I’d never heard of this before. So I read the blurb, saw that I had to turn the toothbrush upside-down and scrape my tongue, and my whole life would be better – or something.

So I shoved the toothbrush deep in my mouth, triggered my gag reflex, and nearly vomited all over the bathroom.

My first thought was: “What a stupid idea, Toothbrush Maker. That was always going to happen”

And then I realised “What a stupid person I am. There’s a really simple solution”…

… so next time, I stuck my tongue out, and merrily scraped it outside my mouth. No gag reflex. No near-vomit (and, to be honest, no impact on my tongue, really).

Why tell you this?

Because the answer to a seemingly-impossible task was actually easy – stick your tongue out, Andy!

And it’s often the same with our seemingly impossible communication challenges… the answer is often easy. For example:

  • Got a weekly meeting that always drags on? Easy fix: shorten it
  • After Meeting #1 with a new contact, do they sometimes ghost you when you try to schedule Meeting #2? Easy fix: agree the time of Meeting #2 during Meeting #1, when you’re both together
  • Fed-up with sending proposals, only to hear the customer reply with “If I’d known it was that much, I would’ve said ‘no’ earlier”? Easy fix: agree the price verbally, and then confirm it in writing
  • Do some of your regular meetings feel like they’re all the same? Easy fix: script and practise a new opening, to engage everyone instantly

All of these are obvious.

Just as it’s obvious to stick out your tongue, not shove a toothbrush down your throat.

So, what’s your biggest communication challenge…?

Action Point

…and what’s the easiest, most obvious solution to fix it?

(These might help)

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