“My Only Fear Is…”

January 5, 2011

Lose those verbal crutches (credit: Carlos A. Martinez)

I don’t bother with New Year’s resolutions. I will not be visiting a gym more. I won’t eat less sugar. I am not giving up caffeine (trust me, my colleagues are grateful for this).

But I do have a few work-related quirks that I want to fix. Call them New Year’s resolutions. Or stay with me and recognize it as coincidental timing. Or the freezing weather forces me to stay inside more and turn introspective. Either way, I would like to lose a few habits.

While I hate to throw others under the bus, it appears that the marketing industry could join me in kicking these bad traits. Read on and let me know your personal no-nos or others’ habits that drive you nuts.

Pitfalls and pratfalls

  • Verbal crutches. I’ve been known to say “I just have one thought…” or “My only fear is…” or “I’m just thinking out loud…” A colleague, who shall remain nameless, said it can be worse than “ummmm…” I almost always am heading towards an unpopular thought I need to voice. Or I’m thinking out loud and I really should finish formulating the thought before voicing it. Think it through; say it succinctly.
  • Relying on old wisdoms. You have to be on the first page for Google paid search. Emails are best sent on Wednesday and Thursday. Websites need a crumbtrail to follow site architecture. Somethings are burned into your brain and it takes serious effort to revisit what you’ve always considered true. This year, I’ll attempt to rethink the tried and true and update it to 2011.
  • The focus group of one. Sure, putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is wise. “Would I click here?” “Would I sign up?” But, let’s be honest and agree that someone who is childless and spends indiscriminate money on shoes (me!) may not be the best person to serve as a focus group of one for a family-driven communications plan.
  • Saying a lot without sharing much. Enough said.
  • Meetings that meander. I’ve been the victim of this and I hate to think that I’ve victimized others, but I have. I’ll start with good intentions and a clear list of to-dos, but slowly the meeting deteriorates without a careful eye on the clock and a firm handle on the conversation.

What’s on your list? Be it yours or a colleague’s, share your worst. Everyone knows that no one reads posts shared on Wednesdays, so don’t worry. It’s just between us.