When you think about your favorite day of work, what comes to mind? Was it the day you answered 80 emails in an two-hour sprint? Or was it the day you discovered a new way to solve a problem you’d wrestled with for weeks? Chances are, you remember the day you did your best work better than the day you did the most work.
All of us are governed by our own internal clocks, or circadian rhythms, that determine when we’re wide awake and when we need toothpicks to keep our eyes open. We tend to think that we’re at our best during our peak hours: Night owls’ hoots are pitch-perfect in the evening and larks catch the most worms early in the day. But when it comes to creativity, we may be getting it all wrong.
Even the most skilled creative team will occasionally miss the mark. Maybe their aim was slightly off, or you perhaps you were looking at totally different targets. Providing useful feedback can help everyone realign and pull the project’s objective into sharper focus. But helping them draw the best version out of their creative quiver can be a challenge. You want to be precise without micromanaging, kind without being condescending, and direct but not dismissive. With all these fine lines to walk, how do you make sure your feedback sparks forward momentum and doesn’t derail the project? The following tips will help ensure you and your creative colleagues are communicating effectively, so that you end up with a final product everyone is proud of.
You get home from work and your partner asks what you want to order for dinner. Somehow that simple question seems impossible to answer. You toss the choice back to them. And so the game of “I don’t care. You pick,” begins. What’s going on here? Why does take-out suddenly seem so complicated?
Our brains are constantly processing a barrage of information. To handle all of this input efficiently, our minds relegate a fair amount of thinking to our “adaptive unconscious,” a concept made famous in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink. Gladwell likened the adaptive unconscious to a “giant computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of the data we need in order to keep functioning as human beings.”
You’ve rehearsed your presentation. You’ve got a smart outfit picked out. You’re ready to give some firm handshakes, smile, and make eye contact. And you’re probably more than a little amped up on adrenaline. Your client, on the other hand, has been in meetings all day, feels pressed for time, and has a million other concerns on their mind. To avoid looking at blank faces while you try to make your case, you need to go beyond the usual preparation tactics. Here’s how to break through the boredom barrier and make a memorable impression in your next pitch meeting.