“TMI” (Too Much Information) has become a standard punch-line response when somebody reveals an embarrassing level of personal news. But too much information has steadily become a huge problem for many of us.
According to the University of California San Diego and The Week, average Americans spent 70 percent of our waking hours consuming information in 2009. During our 11.8 hours a day of reading, watching or listening to what’s now charmingly called ‘content’, we consumed 100,564 words – that’s three times what it was in 1980. I think that’s staggering. How much can you possibly retain? How do we cut through the crap and pay attention to things that really matter — how do we know what’s really important? How do you get people to pay attention to you? What does this mean for the future of both public policy and business?
One central purpose for this column is to offer some usable solutions for communicators. And yes, I do get the irony of adding to the problem by writing this. I’ll keep it short.
Why are those people so mad at you and why do they hate your project?!
Emotion, Outrage and Public Involvement is a two-day training course that helps you avoid the pitfalls, understand the psychology and gives you the tools to dig your way out of those really uncomfortable and career limiting public situations. The class is offered in several locations in 2010 including February 4 & 5 in Las Vegas and March 18 & 19 in Tucson. To register go to IAP2.org, or contact me for more information or if you’d like to bring it in-house to your folks.
Fun Facts to Know and Tell
- The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows that the average fuel efficiency of U.S. cars has improved by only three miles per gallon since the days of the Model T.
So on that note I ran across the following sometime back but unfortunately don’t know the original author. It’s well said.
Scientists have told us what we need to do to ensure the survival of the human race to deal with the big problems like global warming, nuclear war, destruction of the environment, overpopulation, the end of oil, soil erosion… What stops us from taking action?
- Corporate thinking: the next quarter profit is more important than long term survival.
- Religious wishful thinking: imagining that if man plays helpless, God will eventually take pity and make it all better.
- Selfishness: people are unwilling to make any sacrifices of immediate pleasure for their children’s or even their own survival. All that matters is immediate gratification.
- Secular wishful thinking: ignoring the best science and believing any crank or corporate shill who will tell you there is nothing to worry about.
Man imagines he is the most intelligent of species, but he is the only one I know of that is trapped in such fatal delusions.
Let’s Tee This Up and Take It to the Next Level
And here are several other really annoying clichés that we need to banish in 2010, according to Forbes.
Treat the Media Like Your Best Customer
I was talking to longtime PR pal of mine recently who was lamenting how the business of traditional public relations is changing, and of course she’s right. In many ways authentic public involvement is the new PR, but media relations has always been the foundation of that business and some rules haven’t changed.
“A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.”
That quote from Howard Scott, an economist, probably sums up the credibility of big business for most people in the U.S. these days. A few greedy, unethical corporate scumbags have created a toxic entrepreneurial atmosphere. As far back as the summer of 2002 Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs said, “I cannot think of a time when business over all has been held in less repute.” Ironically it’s been all downhill since then. Business needs to get into the public conversation or its trust and credibility will continue to erode.