Image courtesy of Lee Jordan.
The other day, one of the members of a LinkedIn group to which I belong posted the following question: “Has a small idea ever changed your whole life?” She also talked about the idea that “for every act of kindness and every bright idea, you are making a difference.”
It’s an inspiring thought. And when you think about it, we learn about bright ideas (or acts of kindness) through one medium: communication. Look at how the so-called Twitter revolution, literally helped shape revolutions. Or consider the viral video, Kony 2012. That video, while the object of some controversy, certainly got people talking about issues such as youth military service and war crimes. According to Wikipedia, as of September 19, 2012 it had over 93 million views on YouTube.
However, communicating a good idea in the business world may not be as easy or straightforward as doing it through a YouTube video. A picture, as the cliché goes, is worth a thousand words. It might also be true that a few well-chosen words are worth a thousand pictures — I certainly think it! So I offer the following suggestions for sending your good ideas out into the world.
The Language Lab’s top tips for how best to spread your good ideas.
- Choose your language very carefully. Use active language that best expresses your idea. Be clear, succinct, and to the point in every communication about your idea.
- Ask yourself why should anyone care? If you can answer that question in a tweet (140 characters or less), you are on your way to being able to spread that good idea.
- Remember, actions have consequences. Negative or unpleasant language (or gossip, for that matter) can be very damaging. Craft your message in a positive way, based on the result you want to achieve.
Although each of the above tips is important, the third one is key when doing business. If a good idea can spread the way ripples do when a pebble is dropped in still water, (sometimes called the ripple effect) the opposite holds true too.
Case in point. A few years ago I was looking for someone to work on a specific project. A colleague recommended a woman with whom he’d briefly worked. So I contacted this person (let’s call her Ms. Jekyll) and we began working together. Ms. Jekyll was extremely positive — at first.
But, just as we were in the midst of the project, she left a phone message to say she was quitting because she was “too busy with other matters.” Besides, she wasn’t “enjoying the work.” And by the way, would I drop off a cheque at her place?
This too caused a ripple effect. I contacted the man who originally recommended her to ask if he was aware of her “Mr. Hyde” behavior. When another colleague turned to me for recommendations, I mentioned that Ms. Jekyll was someone I didn’t think he’d want to hire.
It wasn’t vindictive; it was simply passing along information. And passing along information, whether by tweet, video, or word of mouth is how ideas spread.
So if you want to spread your good ideas about your business or services, think of that ripple effect — and don’t be a Ms. Jekyll!
Do you have an example of how a good idea spread? Let me know, through the comments, below.