Written By: Adam Dince
As digital professionals, it’s important we always present ourselves in the most positive light. Many of us sit behind a desk all day and deliver a large part of our communication and deliverables electronically. In fact, our documents are often the first impression we give to our audience, so it’s important that we put our best foot forward.
In the final year of my U.S. Navy enlistment, I had a commander who reviewed every piece of work I delivered. I can’t recall an instance where he didn’t return a document marked up in red, with constructive criticism. It drove me nuts! His mantra was, “Dince, you can always do better!” He was right. We can all, always do better.
When I began my transition into an executive-level agency role, I had an incredible mentor named Jorie Waterman, a format perfectionist that never sent anything to a client that didn’t look immaculate! She reminded me a lot of my grandma in her attention to detail. From 50 feet away, my grandma would spot a speck of dirt on the carpet and quickly swoop in to clean it up. If something was out of place or needed attention, grandma would fix it immediately. Her house was always perfect, much as anything that Jorie put together.
I learned a lot from Jorie and Commander Buenaventura. They both taught me that I was intrinsically tied to whatever I sent out and that people would judge me on its quality. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that the presentation of our work is just as important as the work itself.
We’ve all had that experience where someone tells us a joke, but the delivery is so bad that it kills the possibility of a laugh. Leslie Nielsen is one of my favorite comic actors of all-time. He was known for being hysterically funny without telling a joke. What made him so good? It was his voice. It was his facial expressions. It was his delivery.
From the Naked Gun
“Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he’s behind bars. Now, let’s grab a bite to eat.”
Did that line make you laugh? Maybe a chuckle. But when Leslie delivered it, the line was gold!
The point is, the quality of our delivery is vital to the success of the work we create. A nicely wrapped package can make a crappy gift seem okay. On the contrary, a lackluster looking deliverable can cause even the best work to be ignored.
- Seen a fantastic blog headline that was irresistible, however upon click-thru, the design of the page and content was so bad you immediately closed it?
- Received a poorly formatted spreadsheet that made you question the quality and accuracy of the data?
- Read a presentation where the content sucked, but the design was so good that it kept you intrigued?
- Ordered a dessert because of the way it looked in the menu?
I felt compelled to write this article because I often see documents that are sent without the polish they deserve. We should be proud of the work we create and should show that pride in the way it’s delivered. If you were going to sell your car, you’d probably wash, wax and buff it. Why not do the same with the great work you’re trying to sell?
I recently had the pleasure of being in attendance at a Wil Reynolds’s presentation (if you haven’t been to one, put it on your bucket list). The dude is the Tony Robbins of SEO. One of the awesome points he made was that instead of us blaming stakeholders for not getting behind our ideas, maybe we should learn how to pitch better. Most everything we do in our advertising/marketing jobs is a pitch. Whether we’re sharing an idea or providing recommendations, it’s our job to get people behind us. Part of learning how to pitch is learning how to deliver it in a way that results in a strike.
Let’s make it a goal to work on our delivery and never be satisfied with “good enough”.