Tipsheet: Enough Fluff

Enough Fluff

In today’s society, we are surrounded by fluff: low value
information whose noise gets in the way of solid analysis, improved
relationships, and personal excellence. Some of the fluff is mis-aimed
advertising, some fluff is reply-all emails, and other fluff is
"analysis" that doesn’t really analyze. We see fluff at meetings that
go on too long, and ingest fluff at corporate presentations that are high on
staging but low on content. It’s everywhere.

With such an indictment, how can we make sure that we ourselves
aren’t part of the problem? How do we ensure that we are actually producing
value? There are four main ways of doing this:

1) Target the audience: Whether you are making
a presentation, posting a blog, or writing a simple email, consider who is
receiving what you send. The more you can address what they care about, the more
relevant your message will be. Relevance drives value.

2) Help people think: Another way to add value
is to do more than just communicate facts: dig deeper and also present
implications. A useful technique is to answer the question "and this means
that…" for many of your sentences.

3) Focus on action: If the information doesn’t
cause a change in attitude or behavior, then why was it communicated in the
first place? (Often because of a need for personal recognition.). By helping
others move from knowledge to action, you can grow the value of the interaction
well into the future.

4) Call it when you see it: Help your
colleagues increase their own value by coaching them through your information
needs. And helping them develop targeting, thinking, and action skills.
(Consider sharing this Tipsheet with them?)

This week’s action plan: Most people know about
targeting and action, but what about thinking? This week, take the So
test to whatever you write: a blog, a simple email, or a major
report. If you can answer the So what? question for each paragraph,
then you’ll be adding value – not fluff.

Bonus action plan: Long-time readers may notice
that the vast majority of these Tipsheets end with "This week’s action
plan". See for yourself whether this model works, and review the structure of past Tipsheets. They’re at

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to
to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall Craig has founded several successful start-ups, held a long-time position at a “big-four” consulting firm, and was an executive at an American public company. He currently serves as the 108 ideaspace CEO and chief strategist. Randall has been advising on digital strategy since 1994: he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail’s GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations.

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