Even In Business, Reading The Instructions Is Crucial

How many times have you rushed through something without stopping to read the instructions first, making everything that much more difficult for you? It turns out this mistake can affect your business just as badly as it does, say, a hasty piece of IKEA furniture, and you could be sabotaging yourself without even realising.

Instructions image via Shutterstock

This common mistake was picked up by Andrew Griffiths at Flying Solo, who pointed out how many times it happened in relation to an event he was running:

A while back I did a call out for some female speakers for an opportunity that I had. I received 20 emails. Only four responded correctly with the information I’d asked for. Despite stating quite specifically, “Please do not respond unless you are an experienced speaker”, seven of the people opened their email to me by saying, “I haven’t actually spoken in front of an audience before but it is something I would like to try.”
The others who failed epically didn’t read who the audience was, so they were totally inappropriate. And whilst I’m the first person to encourage people to ‘give it a go’, these people, in ignoring a very specific request, made themselves look like amateurs.
I encounter this all the time, in a range of situations, and it makes me shake my head. How hard is it to actually read the instructions?

This can happen in business, to those who are too excited about a new opportunity to actually look into what is desired or required in order to take advantage of it. However, as Andrew points out, the fact that this mistake is so common means that the people who do take the time to read briefs and requests clearly will come out ahead of the pack. If you don't understand something, it can only help to ask them to clarify rather than rushing in with the wrong response. Andrew summarises:

"It's much easier to say 'no' than it is to say 'yes.' Don’t give people you want business from a reason to say 'no.'"

You can read more tips from Flying Solo at the link below.

Are you making this very common, very epic business fail?[Flying Solo]


    I work in IT at an organisation where reading instructions is not the norm and is actually somewhat discouraged (at least, from us)

    We have this set up where employees can email a document to a printer (to allow those with iPads, phones and other BYO toys to print without hassles). We had a call from middle management who were in a meeting and wanted to email print their documents, but didn't know how. I went in to assist the 10 people, then suggested to my boss that we send out a simple (two or three dot points) email for the other managers on how to do this.

    I was informed that my boss and other board members had had a meeting about this, and it was decided that because people wouldn't read the emails, we wouldn't be sending them out any more.

    I complained, but was told to be thankful, that it was keeping me in a job, and that if I wanted to get the message across, I'd have to organise a training session. I did that, and 3 people showed up, as the rest were busy or didn't care, preferring to just call us up and have us do it all for them.

    TL;DR: I work in a place where people don't read instructions, and I was discouraged from sending any out.

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