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Why speed is both great and terrible

Tuesday 5th September 2023 - GMT

Happy September!

I hope you managed to have a holiday over August. I did. I loved it. And I’ve come back raring to go. And so…

… I thought we should start this week’s Tip with a quick quiz. You have ten seconds to answer all five questions:

  1. What’s the opposite of “not in”?
  2. What do cows drink?
  3. What weighs more – a ton of metal, or a ton of feathers?
  4. How much dirt is in a hole measuring 2m wide, 3m long and 4m deep?
  5. Why has the word “gullible” been removed from the dictionary?

How did you get on?

The answers are:

  1. In
  2. Water
  3. The same – they both weigh one ton
  4. None – a hole doesn’t have anything in it
  5. It hasn’t.  Don’t be gullible!

Did you get all of those correct?  Or did you say:

  1. Out
  2. Milk
  3. Metal
  4. 24m2
  5. “Really? I never knew that!”

Speed is good. It means we achieve things quickly.

But sometimes we can do things too quickly. And then mistakes happen.

So let’s now do a Speed Test about how you work. Ten seconds again. Do you ever:

  1. Send things “FYI” without giving it any thought?
  2. Turn up to chair a meeting, unprepared?
  3. Show slides from last time’s presentation, even when some slides aren’t relevant to this new audience?
  4. Forget to use spell-check?
  5. Say “I need you to”, rather than the more polite “please can you…”?

All these are understandable to use. But the fast speed for you doesn’t always mean good news for the other person. After all:

  1. When someone receives an email “FYI”, how do they know what you want them to do with it?
  2. If you’re unprepared, the meeting will be – at best – inefficient. And it might well be a waste of time for all of you
  3. Irrelevant slides are pointless and irritating. Not a good look
  4. Spelling mistakes suggest to some people a lack of diligence, professionalism and care. Again, not the impression you want to convey
  5. “Please” is polite. “Need” isn’t. Whenever anyone says “need” to me, I always want to reply “well I need you to learn some manners!”

So, how did you get on with the second quiz?

(By the way, your answers should have been no, no, no, no and no)

Action Point

Have a quick (but not too quick!) Self Review… Do you work at the right pace? Or might you achieve even more if you slowed down a bit?


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Why speed is both great and terrible

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