Archive for July 15th, 2013

Your ‘Official Message’ is Boring

We know a lot of interesting people whose resumes read like a legal document: passive, jargon-filled, sleep inducing. People who can time a joke, keep their coworkers effortlessly entertained, but become someone else in formal contexts.

It’s the same in front of the camera. Interesting people start to communicate like they’ve just read “100 Cliche Ways to Talk about Work.”

The implicit rule seems to be: the higher the stakes, the less you should be yourself. The more you should bury your humanity, and become a faceless agent of The Official Message.

But no one is really interested in The Official Message.

If it’s a corporate video, we’ll sit through it at orientation because we have to. If it’s a marketing video, we’ll sit through it for 30 seconds until we can get the YouTube content we really wanted. But no one is going to seek your Official Message out.

Here’s a better rule: your resume ought to be as interesting as People magazine, your presentation as interesting as a TED talk, and your video as interesting as the million other things we could watch instead.

You do this by allowing yourself to be human. To tell stories and jokes and talk about things you’re really interested in.*

If you’re working for the right reasons, your business becomes a natural part of that conversation. Nothing forced or “Official” about it.



*Consider the work of Phil Simon, an author who incorporates Breaking Bad, Rush, and Seinfeld into his books on business. Or Dave, who blogs about travel and family while selling leather products.

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