GUEST POST from Ian Harris: Nobody’s Expecting Much
“Nobody’s expecting much”
by Ian Harris
I once heard a story about a young British Member of Parliament, who was about to give his first speech on the floor of the house: his so-called maiden speech.
In Britain’s House of Commons, it’s the tradition that a maiden speech has to be delivered from memory. The Member of Parliament isn’t allowed to read it – instead, he or she must ‘deliver it cold’.
This young MP was certain he knew his stuff, and could normally talk with confident authority about the subject he’d picked. But before the speech, he was consumed with nerves. Over and over, he imagined himself failing spectacularly – corpsing in front of all the ‘old hands’ and looking like a fool.
On the day of his maiden speech, the MP perched nervously in his seat next to a veteran ‘old timer’ who had been an MP for years. When he was finally called to speak, he was about to rise when he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was the ‘old timer’ MP. “Enjoy yourself,” the kindly voice whispered, “But remember, nobody’s expecting much!”
“Nobody’s expecting much” should be your motto mantra in internal communications, too.
So many internal communication managers pump out business-as-usual content. Buzzword-ridden memos. Un-targeted newsletters. Communication that leaves staff wondering “what’s in it for me?”
All business audiences are expecting the usual rubbish. You can choose to either meet their expectations by being awful, or surprise them with relevant, fresh content that contributes to their professional lives in a new and original way.