“I can’t believe I’m sending this to her. This is so embarrassing. In 24 hours she is going to email me telling me to never write her again. Hopefully she’ll forgive me, but I don’t know what else to do.” *click* Send.
This is a snippet of what I was thinking before I sent my latest article to Entrepreneur called, “How to Motivate Employees in Less Than 5 Minutes.” It was the worst article I had written for them thus far. It could have been better, but I had a deadline. I wasn't sure if it was something they even wanted, much less publish. I was cringing in anticipation of the painful response that was surely on it's way.
To my surprise, my editor didn't have any problems with it. When she sent over her edits, she even added the comment, "Nice job!"
Okay, so she might have liked it (probably didn't love it), but now I was fully prepared for it to be a flop once it went live on the site. This article was surely not going to get any shares, any likes, or any tweets.
I will let this article die the quiet death that it deserves and do better next time.
The morning that the article went live, I woke up to my phone chirping away with Twitter notifications.
Holy cow! People were sharing, tweeting, liking, and even commenting on the article, sparking some very interesting conversation! It even became a "Top Story" on the site and one of their "Most Shared Stories" articles for 2 days!
I share this story with you because I'm an ego maniac and just want you to be super impressed by this small achievement. .... Wait. No. I mean...
I share this story with you because I learned a very important lesson that I'm sure you can relate to.
It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Have a Positive Impact
As a communication expert, I feel an added sense of pressure to have the right words at the time. That's just the name of the game. But when it comes to communication - verbal or written - there is no such thing as perfect communication. The true skill is being adaptable. One message said in one way may resonate with one person, but said in a different way may resonate with another person.
Many people keep quiet because they are afraid of not saying the perfect words perfectly. They avoid speaking in public. They don't give their opinions in meetings. Or, they don't tell their partner what's been on their mind.
Reaching for an elusive standard like 'perfect,' or it's cousin 'just right,' will hold you back. You won't get your opportunity to shine. You won't be the driving force behind moving an idea forward. You won't be willing to be vulnerable in order to create change.
The beauty of communication is that you can adjust. If you say something one way and it isn't effective, then try saying it in a different way. In a single conversation, you have multiple opportunities to say what you need to say in different ways in order to unlock the code to which one is effective for that person.
Granted, putting something in writing means that you can't make changes .... or can you?
Writing is rewriting. That's an adage every writer knows. Which means you can make adjustments to your writing before you hit the dreaded send button. Most people fail in their persuasive writing attempts because they write it once and send it off.
Writing is not a 'wham bam, thank ma'am' situation. Wine and dine your prose.
Look for ways to say the same thing in different ways so you can connect with a broader group.
I noticed that the perfection barrier blocks me when I write sales copy for a new training program or product. I procrastinate on posting because, once again, I'm waiting for perfection to strike. But, God bless the digital world, because, folks, I don't know if you knew this, but you can change and upload NEW copy All. The. Time!
If it's not working, change it. If that didn't work either, change it. Your writing doesn't have to be etched in cyber stone.
Don't hold yourself back from giving people value. Your insights and opinions can help someone else. Your next speech doesn't have to be on par with Hamlet. Your next book doesn't have to mirror Hemingway. Your next heartfelt conversation doesn't have to read like a scripted romantic comedy.
There is not such thing as perfect communication. Take solace in that fact. Say your piece. You could have a positive influence, whether you expect it or not.