The executive summary. Forever the crux of my business writing. It requires that I take the full extent of my research on a particular problem, the lengths to which I have gone to explain why a solution might work, and the time I took to craft a decent argument, and asks me to dilute it. Take away all of the garnishes, the dips, the sides, and just leave the main course. Don’t even drizzle on the gravy. Slice up the ham and serve with a fork.
The idea seems rather carnal from that perspective, but what’s really at play here isn’t necessarily as ruthless as it may sound. Most entrepreneurs I have met so far, really do geek out at getting down to the details. They crave the “whys”, the “hows”, and the hidden correlations, but like all bosses, they have something else in common:
Your boss is really, really busy.
Like…really busy. This is an important concept when thinking about how to communicate in the workplace. It isn’t that they don’t want to hear every detail that came out of the market research study you just finished, but more than likely they just can’t afford to read your entire 15 page write up on the spot. You were hired because they trust you, and they expect that your recommendation comes backed with the guarantee that you have something to support your ideas. Instead of expecting that they understand every detail, let’s look at a good way to present your recommendation:
“As opposed to traditional thoughts on B2B marketing, B2B purchase decisions end up being more emotional than logical, therefore I am proposing the following for our next campaign…”
It might seem terrifying at first – keeping out the details that back up your first claim – but you need to remember the trust piece of it all. You weren’t hired by accident. You were hired because someone trusts you. So get to the point, and don’t worry, because…
They’re good at connecting the dots.
They’re busy, so what? Do they really want to sign off on something blindly? Well, no. And they probably aren’t. In addition to trust in you, the majority of the time, they can make the connection to the “why” and the “how” quicker than you’d expect.
When you lay out that, “ B2B purchase decisions end up being more emotional than logical…” odds are that their previous knowledge on the subject is already folding over itself, toying with the possibilities, and coming to some pretty accurate conclusions without even hearing the answers. And if they don’t see the connection right away, they will ask! This is the point at which you can display your research, and prove that you didn’t just throw something together haphazardly.
At times, a comprehensive explanation is warranted and necessary, but in the midst of a traditionally busy work-day, simple communication is your best friend. So, be concise, stick to the necessities, and you’ll be bursting through your perceived potential in no-time.
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