“A Little Tweet Is a Dangerous Thing”

The small-screen mobile device and social media have made “less is more” the new “dangerous thing” for those who aim to be savvy entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals.

“Dangerous” because you may believe your value to clients can be captured in 140 characters, but it may not be fully understood and appreciated by your target market.

Your value may even be completely misunderstood by them without you or prospects and clients realizing this.

I paraphrased writer Alexander Pope’s 18th-Century work in our title by substituting “tweet” for his “learning” (“A little learning is a dangerous thing.”) to emphasize how shifting communication values can increase danger arising from what you don’t know you don’t know. A few years ago, when the internet was prized for the depth of knowledge it placed at the average person’s fingertips, this article would have been titled, “A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing,” now we have entered a “less is more” era which carries new communication risks.

Most business transactions cannot be fully understood in 140 characters or less.

Texting and tweeting, (no longer do we have to explain that this involves sending and receiving 140-character social media messages), combined with the small-screen devices that enable mobile computing, play significant positive roles in business and almost everything else.

Convenience, immediacy, and inclusiveness are valuable communication benefits of this new communication style. Problems arise when this type of truncated communication becomes the model for knowledge exchange and for the depth of knowledge required to excel:

#1. False Confidence can be expensive.
When you think you know everything you need to know to make a decision, you may not understand the depth of complexity involved. Knowledgeable, experienced  professionals realize that no one can know everything in their field. Their job is to continually anticipate danger and opportunity for their clients. When everything goes well, naive clients may not even realize the number of “bullets” their professionals dodged for them. Unless professionals can communicate fully with their clients, assumptions or unreasonable expectations can not be addressed to reveal a client’s significant hidden knowledge gaps. When issues eventually arise, it may be too late for the professional involved to perform more than damage control. Share your example of a time when what you didn’t know came back to haunt you as client or as a professional.

#2. Simplification comes after detailed knowledge is acquired.
Simplification masks vital knowledge. To achieve full understanding, have concepts and details relevant to the decision facing you, or your client, explained in detail by your professional. Then, short-hand references, embedded with full knowledge of all implications, can facilitate communication by tweet, text…Share your experience, good or bad: When were you (or your client) distracted by over-simplification?

#3. Your “hot buttons” make you vulnerable to advertising, marketing, and sales techniques, and may illicit actions that are not in your best interest, or your clients’. “Hot buttons”—triggers that cause the emotional “buy now” reaction to kick in—rely on emotions to get reactions, not on logic and the depth of understanding that lead to informed decision making. You and your clients can be vulnerable to lack of self-awareness of “hot buttons” and other vulnerabilities. What do you do about this for yourself and in the services you deliver to internal and external clients?

Key Theme in “WHAT’S YOUR POINT? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick! Be careful that the fast-paced, less-is-more approach ramped up by social media and mobile computing does not undermine your commitment to self-education and self-leadership. Protect yourself and your clients by digging deep into detail, so the advantage of knowledge will always be yours and, therefore, theirs.

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