Push Your Ideas Through With Superfluous Brackets

Business author, blogger, and speaker Seth Godin suggests a simple, sneaky little trick to push your (slightly audacious) ideas past your boss. His suggestion: Add some {brackets}.

Photo by Office Now.

In doing so, Godin hopes your subsequent conversations with your boss will go something like this:

"Hey, what are these weird brackets doing here," she might say.

"Oh, I like them. I think they add drama to the headline."

"Take them out!"

Giving in early makes it easier to keep the important stuff in later.

It's a little silly, to be sure, but you don't have to take the bracket advice entirely literally; it's Godin's final conclusion that holds true more broadly: "Giving in early makes it easier to keep the important stuff in later."

Ideally you'll have a great boss who's generous, nurturing, and on the same page as you are. We're not always that lucky, though, so learning to pick your battles—and, perhaps occasionally, losing artificial battles—can help you make your case for what really matters to you later.

Add some {brackets} [Seth's Blog]


    When I was working in the web design and game design industry I would do the exact the same thing but call it yellowdot. The same idea applied. Client would always want to be able to point out something to change even when they had no idea. In this case I would put a glaring graphical flaw, maybe a giant, rounded yellow dot off to the side. When asked:

    It really draws the eye!

    I hate it get rid of it

    Here you go, this is exactly what you wanted minus the yellow dot you hated

    Its perfect!...


    in Architecture, I've been working this concept over and over for more than a decade -- unfortunately, we are subjected to numerous and often random reviews, so what isn't picked up the first time round won't make it through the next one -- but an added bit of sneakiness is to add in your (personal finishing touches) the last review/day of the deadline, after which they are pretty much set in concrete... failing any major budget shortfalls. :)

    another way is to use a little reverse psychology, convince them it was their idea in the first place -- for a smallish change it's often possible -- bigger changes can get you in hot water when they start questioning your ability to follow directions.

    ideally your boss is open-minded and receptive to creativity, so you may give them a couple of options, ensuring your personal marks are on the one you're sure they'll select.

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