When do we know it is safe to cross the road?
How much information do we need about how far away that truck is and how fast it is going to decide whether it is safe to step off the pavement and cross?
How much information does your customer need before deciding she trusts you?
As people who sell things or ideas, our challenge is twofold.
- We must understand what information our prospective customers want; and
- How much information is enough.
All the while remembering that the same information does not work for everyone and we can only ‘know’ with hindsight what messages worked.
Researchers in university departments around the world spend years, sometimes decades, attempting to answer similar questions.
Unlike scientists, we do not have years to discover what is working.
But just like the scientist we must try and test.
When lecturing, the lecturer needs to assess what information is necessary and if she is not overloading her students with too much information.
When mentoring, the mentor needs to decide what information is necessary and if she is not overloading her poor mentee with too much discussion.
When writing, the author needs to decide what information is necessary and if she is not overloading her readers with too much information.
When in a relationship, she needs to decide if her talkathon has not reached a point of diminishing marginal returns.
The thing is we must begin with the posture of empathy for the people we want to reach and resonate with.
The question about what we should say then becomes about what the person we are speaking to is ready to hear.