Recently, I created a presentation to guest lecture for a project management in research course where I was asked to share about how project managers can coach team members to maintain momentum in their projects.
As I create my presentations by writing scripts first, I learned something, again, about the importance of letting go of our ideas to improve our communications.
As I was brainstorming and developing ideas, I had nurtured two great stories that described how coaching could be useful in projects: -a story about a trip to Long Island where I accidentally drove through Manhattan panic-stricken on a Saturday night and a story about Alice and her first swimming lesson.
After completing the scripts and the associated slides, I realized that the stories were really offering the same information in different ways.
Shoot! I didn’t need both stories.
But, I really liked both stories. I liked what they had to offer and how they could be used to communicate my message. I had spent time crafting them. I had created all the visuals. I had become attached to them both.
That said, a part of me was telling me that the NY story wasn’t quite what I wanted to get across. It wasn’t necessarily relatable to my audience and it wasn’t really about coaching (i.e. asking good questions), it was more about navigating/guiding (telling something what to do).
The thing is, I wouldn’t have realized this without going through the whole process of developing both of these stories.
Now, I know that the story about Alice is the most relatable and relevant to my audience.
And so, I let go of New York.
Letting go of our ideas when writing can be challenging. And, this was a pretty soft example of attachment….you can imagine when it’s your research data that you spent months (years?!) generating the idea, experiments, results and analyzing data that you …no wonder there is so much attachment to keeping everything in!
So, how do we know when to let go of an idea? Here’s some questions to ask yourself that might be helpful:
- What do you really want your writing to communicate and how do you want your audience to receive it?
- Does this idea/result/data analysis support the reader in understanding your message?
- If not, are you willing to let it go, for now, to create more of what you want in this communication?
If you are struggling with having too many ideas and you are not sure how to decide what to let go of or how to find focus in your writing, I invite you to email me at a firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary Discovery Call where we will learn more about what is happening for you and whether the work I do may be a good fit for you.
Looking forward to connecting!