Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simple Stuff

This month I was training a new radio advertising sales person that we hired.

He has a background in advertising sales for the phone book people, but radio can be a different animal.

So, I could have easily confused him with all the complications, but I tried to keep it as simple as possible and we will build on that knowledge as time goes by.

Seth Godin explains why I took this approach:

"The answer is simple" always more effective a response than, "well, it's complicated."

One challenge analysts face is that their answers are often a lot more complicated than the simplistic (and wrong) fables that are peddled by those that would mislead and deceive. Same thing is true for many non-profits doing important work.

We're not going to have a lot of luck persuading masses of semi-interested people to seek out and embrace complicated answers, but we can take two steps to lead to better information exchange:

1. Take complicated overall answers and make them simple steps instead. Teach complexity over time, simply.

2. Teach a few people, the committed, to embrace the idea of complexity. That's what a great college education does, for example. That's what makes someone a statesman instead of a demagogue. Embracing complexity is a scarce trait, worth acquiring. But until your customers/voters/employees do, I think the first strategy is essential.

You can't sell complicated to someone who came to you to buy simple.

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