Tailor Your Message To People Who Get It, Not The Ones Who Refuse To

Tailor Your Message to People Who Get It, Not the Ones Who Refuse To

You can't expect to be perfectly understood by everyone all the time. Despite knowing this, many of us still try. If most people get what you're trying to say, you're only wasting your own effort by tailoring your message to the people who won't.

Being misunderstood can feel like a loss. If you're a boss trying to get your team on board with an idea, you can get hung up on the one employee who resists. If you're sharing your thoughts online, you can get hampered by the one person who always contradicts you. As author Seth Godin explains, it's okay to include them, but as soon as you start tailoring your message to the people who may refuse to understand your message anyway, you start watering it down:

When you find yourself overwriting, embracing redundancy and overwhelming people with fine print, you're probably protecting yourself against the 2%, at the expense of everyone else... When we hold back and dumb down, we are hurting the people who need to hear from us, often in a vain attempt to satisfy a few people who might never choose to actually listen.   It's quite ok to say, "it's not for you."

Being misunderstood is such an uncomfortable feeling that many of us would simply rather avoid the people who don't "get" us entirely. Sometimes that's ok! However, when it comes to work or getting your ideas out there, expect a little pushback. That's just part of living in a world with people who are different from you.

The 2% who misunderstand you [Seth Godin] Photo by Tim Parkinson.


    In other words: give up writing. If your readers already get it, whatever you write is redundant.

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