Yes, it’s a cliche, but there’s a reason these phrases hang around—we keep needing them.
The biggest challenge we see in producing powerful, motivating communications that connect with their intended audience is the desire to please everyone—internal power centers, partners, staff nitpickers, the CEO’s sister-in-law, often everyone but the intended audience.
We’ve all experienced the hazards of this effort: an excruciating process rife with delays and redos, terminally weakened messaging and presentation, and soporifically vague prose, all adding up to a result that at best no one hates and at worst completely misses its mark. So why do so many keep tilting at an unachievable goal?
At base, there’s the natural desire to please those closest to us—in this case, people we work with and who may hold some sway over our long-term success. And some of those people simply will not be able to get out of their own heads enough to look at a pitch in light of the target audience. But usually there’s also something else at work: a lack of vision on the part of the person leading the project, competing visions if the project is a collaboration, or lack of confidence or executive support if the person with the vision is not the final authority.
These core issues must be dealt with if you’re going to get off the please-everyone treadmill and produce communications that connect. So ask yourself, before producing any communication, Do I have a clear vision for what this should be? Do my collaborators share that vision? Am I willing to stand up for it if I meet resistance, and do I have the support I need?
When the answer to all is yes, move forward. Tell the naysayers you appreciate their comments and will take them under advisement. Tell yourself that communications success is what will really please everyone.