Do You Equate Boring with Serious?

Do you believe the only way to become a thought leader in your field is to express yourself in as dry a manner as possible?

Do you use data or graphs your audience won’t be able to read so your opinion seems well-researched?

Do you obfuscate your  meaning with words like obfuscate to make yourself feel smarter?

Do you wonder why you have a hard time bringing outsiders into your fold?

Unless you work in web development, gaming, or some corners of the internet marketing sector, the answer to these questions is most likely yes.  It also explains why if I were to sum up my consulting practice into one sentence it would be:

Stop sapping the awesome out of your inherently amazing work.

I don’t mean to suggest that there isn’t a time and place to get down and dirty with data, or that your policy wonk persona doesn’t deserve a place at the table.

Just keep in mind that as long as you and your organization value “brilliant” over “welcoming” your people will admire you from afar (or ignore you all together) because you make them feel stupid.

Your Turn

What’s your take on the connection between boring and serious?  Is it necessary?  Is it helpful?  Does it depend on your field?  Your Audience?

I’m (obviously) biased here so don’t be afraid to disagree–you can bring your data if I can bring a lol cat.


3 thoughts on “Do You Equate Boring with Serious?

  1. Connection between boring and serious? I guess the more serious a topic, the more likely it is to be presented in a boring manner, because the presenter may feel an obligation to be both precise and accurate. This is a challenge since non-profits often deal with long-term, challenging issues hard to boil down into catch phrases.

    However, I agree, we need to become more adept at developing simple messaging to not come off overly wonky. This simple messaging should(?) explicitly link to one or more in depth, detailed issue descriptions to be used when and if a new stakeholder “graduates” to higher involvement with the organization. With these explicit links, it would seem the simple messaging would then be authentic as opposed to merely “spin”. Does this make sense?

  2. Thanks John for your thoughtful comments and an important reminder: there is absolutely a time and place for “precise and accurate.” In fact, for every person who is turned off by “wonky” there is another who won’t really trust you until they believe you have the chops to deal with real data. I like your idea of linking simple, emotionally relevant messages to articles that support your organizations conclusions with hard data. That way, everyone gets what they need to feel comfortable supporting the work.

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