Mass (communication) FAIL

I am a proud graduate of the Communications Department of Liberty University. When I was entering my freshman year in 1995 mass communication meant something entirely different than it does now. The introductory courses taught about television, radio and print as being the mainstays. Not much attention was given to the internet at that point if any at all. The world wide web was barely a toddler at that time. By the time I finished up school in 1999 I had taken two courses on “web design.” I use that term loosely because one course was taught by a librarian and the other by a retiring professor who specialized in newspapers. Are there still libraries and newspapers? Now we ask how we could function properly without the information superhighway … thank you Al Gore.

As much joy and satisfaction as the internet brings it also can be a giant pain when not working correctly. Rewind to yesterday. I recently joined an organization that will go unnamed to protect the innocent and I was looking forward to participating in my first webinar with them. The webinar: How to be a presentation god. First of all claiming to be a god is set up for disappointment. Everyone knows you are not that great at whatever you are claiming. When and not if you fail to live up to god status there is only way to go … straight to hell. I’M KIDDING! But you are going down.

So here goes the definition of irony. I log on the webinar a few minutes early like a good attendee and the start time rolls around without any presentation beginning. As I’m waiting I decided to multi-task and play some Angry Birds. I didn’t do that but it’s funny so I said it. As I am checking email and twittering about highly important things I notice that there is still no audio after I had been told earlier that the presentation would begin shortly. Come to find out the connection had been lost. So far I’ve learned that being a presentation god means not starting on time and kicking everyone out of a webinar.

The next few minutes included me logging off and on multiple times all the while never getting the presentation to come up. I do webinars all the time. I’ve even done them with this particular software. I’ve never had an issue connecting. Also, I had no problem using any other internet dependent application. It’s hard to tell where the problem originated, but the issue lies in setting expectations.

Later that day, Jenny and I attended Leadership Training at Wave Church. Pastor Steve Kelly hit on the exact issue while talking about striving. One point he made that I will paraphrase: under promise and over deliver. This organization set the bar very high with the name of the presentation, and when it failed to even work it became a mass communication fail. It’s much better to be in the opposite situation. Be truthful in what you can accomplish but when all is said and done be sure to go above and beyond. Don’t promise the world and deliver Rhode Island. No offense Rhode Island. I heard that you are a great place to travel through while going somewhere else.

How many times have you heard about a movie or book that people have gushed over or that has been marketed extensively but when you finally experience it for yourself it’s not all that you had hoped. Leave some mystery. It’s the worst when a comedy film shows all the funny parts in the trailer.

Of course, we should not lie when telling others what we can do for them. An honest evaluation of your skills and available time will go a long way towards managing the expectations of others. Meanwhile back at the ranch you can be working hard and when you perform beyond what was expected it will lead to more opportunities.

Well, that’s it for today, folks. Have a great weekend and Happy Father’s Day!


About the Author


Mark is a marketer and sometimes writer. He's trying to get better at that sometimes thing.

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