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The KISS Principle


We have all heard of the KISS (Keep it simple stupid) principle, and have most likely seen it applied in many different situations. Wikipedia attributes the phrase to the lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works … and it was used as a design consideration for the complex world of airplane construction.

All too often in our daily lives we over complicate situations … and anyone with experience can quickly tell you there is no better way to stop progress than to complicate it!

Here are some thoughts for you …

1.  If you have a message to get across to someone and it is complex, consider carefully HOW that message should be delivered.

2.  Email is great for basic communication … it is deadly for complex communication.

3.  People do NOT read long and complex emails … they switch off, and your chances of gaining their attention is about zero!

4.  People do not listen to long and complex speeches … they get bored, switch off and stop listening.

5.  If someone is expecting a message … “here is our agreement” … and what they get is quite different, you have a big problem.

6.  If you want to effect change of ANY kind then you MUST apply the KISS principle.

7.  Break down complex messages into smaller messages … and make then about the listener/reader.

8.  Consider delivering your messages in several ways … people retain different amounts of knowledge depending upon the delivery mechanism and their learning style.  So … perhaps phone them first and articulate CLEARLY your message, then follow up with an email and then have a face to face meeting?

9.  Messages that are trying to address two different audiences will not be heard by either … keep it simple and address one audience at a time.  In the staffing business we do this all the time trying to develop marketing messages that are applicable to our end clients AND our contractors/temp employees!  It doesn’t work.

10.  Always try to put yourself in the shoes of the person hearing the message … if you were them would this make sense?

11.  Remember that people are different … I wrote a blog entry on this subject called Communicating with Different Personalities.

12.  Just because you DELIVER a message, don’t assume it has been RECEIVED!  People skim, people stop reading, people stop listening, people will shut out messages they consider too complex or not easily understood.

So … if you lasted this long, I suggest you read this blog entry one more time.  Did you spot anything the second go around, that you missed the first time?  Most people would!!