Daily Archives: November 3, 2008

The next piece

You are in the middle of a presentation. You have the audience leaning in. They are tweeting every word. They are writing their own posts in their heads with the wonderful material you are giving them. They are, you are, fully engaged.

Suddenly, a costumed gorilla runs into the room, screams, and runs out.

Everyone sees. Everyone is startled, and then laughs.

Everyone is distracted. People are still tweeting, but now they are talking about what just happened more than about whatever you were saying.

Unless you are one of the people known for having costumed gorillas running through, this is a silly thing to do.

And there probably should only be one of those people.

At any given moment of intentional discourse, any given time where you are putting words and experiences together for a purpose, you have a bag full of pieces. And you have several bags for other games, for other purposes. The temptation, often, is to go for the big effect, for the huge memorable experience, for the huge E, for the screaming gorilla.

Fight that temptation.

You are in a relationship with an audience, you are trying to make the next move, to give others something to build on, to build with. You are trying to take what they have done and thought, add to it in a meaningful way, and give them a chance.

Or you are building a billboard, helping people know what goes on inside as they drive by outside. you want them to stay safe, to catch a glimpse, to have a really clear bit of understanding.

As fun as it is to be remembered for your effects, what would be even cooler would be to be remembered for the thoughtfully built relationships, the way that you wove value into the lives of the people that you knew, the way that you played the next piece, whether on a board or a sign, with respect and awareness of long-term effectiveness.

The gorilla guy is remembered. And copied. And becomes his own parody. The guy who plays the really big E on the gameboard is amusing. Once. But the person who thinks well about the next piece?

She changes the world.

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This is another occasional entry the next sentence series. Follow that link for the previous sentence.