I’m reading Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and I’m riveted. So many things in this book resonate with me… about the tools we use… attitude… technique… I can’t believe how similar running is to communicating! I’m pleasantly surprised that the path to being a good, injury-free runner shares many of the same principles with the path to becoming a good communicator, including:
- Forget what you know. Just because you’ve been doing it your whole life doesn’t make you an expert. It just means you have a lot of experience making the same mistakes.
- Chuck the tools. Many tools of the trade are designed to soften the impact of common mistakes. In running, padded heels cushion impact. In communicating, knowing someone’s personality “type” softens the impact of misunderstandings. In both cases, the solutions look like they should work, and in both cases, they don’t.
- Love it or leave it. America’s well paid, well shod professional runners today are slower than our farm-club runners from the 1970′s. (There are some incredible facts and figures in Born to Run, and this is one of them. Really, read the book!) Meanwhile, today’s best paid communicators (think: marketing geniuses) are losing ground on social media because people would rather trust their friends than a shill. It’s the love of the game, fool! If you’re not genuinely interested in either running or engaging, you’ll end up working harder for lesser results!
- Focus on technique. How you run keeps you injury free. How you speak determines whether that comment is taken as a joke or an insult. It’s not what you say. It’s how you make someone feel when you say it.
- Cross-train. The best runners are good athletes who run. The best communicators know a little something about a lot of subjects and a lot of something about one.
I’m loving this book. Any time I read something about an unrelated discipline that teaches me something about my own, I light up. It makes me feel like I’ve discovered a universal truth…
Have a great weekend!
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.