While recently walking around the university campus my older son will be getting lost on this fall, he and I kidded about game plans for surviving college.
When he expressed concern about how difficult some classes may be, I smiled and told him that if his classes aren’t hard, his mom and me aren’t getting our money’s worth.
It’s supposed to be difficult. I told him he is stepping into an environment where he will regularly feel pretty darn ignorant.
When he gave me a smirk following that comment, I laughed and said, “Dude, enjoy it. Ignorance is okay. Trust me, this campus is full of ignorance.”
He then told me I wasn’t making sense. Well, that’s fair.
To help explain, I shared one of my all-time favorite quotes from Will Rogers. He said, “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.”
I told him that one of the cool things about the situation he is entering is that it’s totally expected in the beginning to walk into classrooms completely ignorant of the material being covered.
I joked, “I’ve spent a lot of time in rooms with professionals who are pretending they know a lot about things I don’t think they know all that much about. Or, they pretend they understand what is being told to them…even when they really don’t.”
Before he could tease me about it, I admitted that I – especially in my younger years – was guilty of that, as well.
However, one of the great things about getting older is that I’m far more comfortable saying, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
As kids, many of us become conditioned in classrooms to pretend we understand things we may not just yet. But, no one wants to appear “slow.”
We keep our heads and hands down and pretend.
Many keep that habit all these years later.
Sometimes we get away with it. Other times, we end up in situations in which we really wished we would have asked a few more questions or maybe restated what we think we were being told.
Confident, competent people are comfortable admitting when they don’t know something.
Moreover, good teachers and leaders appreciate knowing if they are communicating effectively.
Finding ourselves feeling ignorant on occasion is not unacceptable.
Choosing to remain ignorant is.
Don’t be afraid to raise your hand.
I have long mused about our society’s seemingly worsening case of ADD and what it means to our marketing efforts.
Our attention…and patience…are fleeting.
Ninety percent of the limited television I watch is recorded. Commercials don’t stand a chance against my thumb and the “skip” button.
It is funny whenever one of my sons or I grab the remote to skip commercials and then groan when we learn it’s running live.
I’ll often walk away to do something else and return 15 minutes later so I can “skip ahead”.
If I’m watching video clips online, fifteen seconds is what I’ll give an ad. I’m not promising to pay attention to it…but I’ll let it play.
If there is a “skip the ad after 5 seconds” button, it gets clicked at 5.1 seconds.
If the ad that pops up is 30 seconds long…I’m gone. I mean, really.
Thirty seconds! We have lives to live folks. Who has 30 seconds to waste on an ad?
In fact, I’ve found myself with negative feelings toward the companies who are clueless enough to want me to watch a 30 second ad to see a 60 second clip. (I’m looking at you ESPN.com.)
I’m guessing that’s not the reaction ad execs were shooting for in the pitch meeting.
I get kidded from time to time for my unwavering fondness of what one friend described as “dead tree marketing”. No, not newspapers. I rarely pick one up outside of an airport.
That said, I’m still a business card and promotional flier advocate.
I’m not suggesting that those tools are a substitute for all other marketing.
By all means, market everywhere and as much as you can afford.
But, as societal ADD runs amok and more folks spend larger parts of their days staring into smartphones and tablets, I like certain paper-based marketing as much as ever.
The reason is simple. Face-to-face interactions tend to happen when business cards and fliers are utilized.
The “ad impact” is not the actual card or flier.
The impact is the handshake, the personal interaction, and the face-to-face conversation.
The impact is the feeling that another human is offering assistance.
The impact is personally connecting.
Whether in a store, a branch, or out in your community, new relationships are still in the cards.