Let it go.

I just finished a six week assignment with a major health corporation in town, helping them to cascade their 10 year vision into a repeatable resonant story for their 16,000 associates to understand. The experience was a familiar one — take two years worth of strategic planning work and find a way to get it into 10 minutes.  That was not the difficult part, in fact it was great fun.

The challenge was when the lead executive insisted on telling “the journey” every time he presented the material (at least when I was present).  He was afraid that people wouldn’t appreciate how far, how hard, how complicated it was to get to THERE.  He wouldn’t let it go.

I’ve seen this more and more lately — whether it is a mid-level data analyst or a senior strategist, the desire to relay everything about “the work” has become consistent — consistently unnecessary.  We, in the audience, gingerly ask ourselves: “Who cares?”

When you think about this question: What do you want people to do with the information once they leave your presentation?

Is the answer:

A. To know how hard you have worked

B. To make sure they know every step of your journey

C. To take action on what you are presenting

Clearly, it is C.  But our ego and self-consciousness get in the way of remembering we need to keep the audience the central character of our story – not ourselves.  The fear: if we don’t display the tough journey, we won’t be acknowledge for all the effort we expended.  The reality: if we don’t tell people the bottom line in a succinct way with resonating stories, all that effort will be lost.

Let it go.