Hurry up and slow down.

In the words of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, “Slow down, you move too fast.” (Feelin’ Groovy. Simon & Garfunkel, 1967).

I’ve been thinking about pace, speed and urgency- and it seemed to crop up a few times this week during a number of events and tasks. Modern society manages to give a level of importance to “saving you time”- which is entirely understandable since no matter how great your financial resource or ability, you still have 86,400 seconds in a day. If someone gave you £86,400 you might consider a while what you would spend it on, and yet we don’t generally do that level of critique on the spending of those seconds. The concept of saving people time therefore has a value and benefit. Here is some pre-washed lettuce, or some ready-grated cheese- SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO! It comes with a mark up for the extra effort, but think of the time you will save!

I’ve used this concept and thread when thinking about content and link creation with presenters- cut the waffle and get to the point, give me enough to know what you are talking about and give me the hit and get out. All that works and has an efficiency to it- therefore saves time and effort. Must be a win right?

Speed of response, action, decision and end result is not always the best option. Not only is consideration and time to reflect and think required, as I mentioned when talking about ratings results the other week, but also it builds up an expectation that FAST = BEST.

Being able to make a snap choice, instant decision, spontaneous reaction is sometimes correct. Malcom Gladwell wrote a great book on the subject of “thin slicing” (Blink. Malcom Gladwell) and how the subliminal gut reactions are often times correct. Caveat to that being that when there is a wealth of knowledge on the subject matter meaning that it is not just a random guess or flip of a coin.

The downside comes when the expectation of a fast result impacts the wider reality. Again I come back to a bit of a cliche, “It takes an age to become and overnight success”. The society norms for instant gratification lead to an unrealistic expectation of how long it takes to become successful, or move up the chain. I’ve worked with people before who have been keen and eager to progress which is fantastic, but also frustrated with just how long it actually takes. The progress doesn’t have to be glacial in its pace, but its not going to be warp speed either. Many is the time (back in the day), when a presenter of one weekend show would be asking, after doing the show for just a matter of weeks, when the next thing would be and when they could move onto midweek and daytime. Like I say, the desire was fantastic and was extremely welcome but the timeline expected is unrealistic.

Slow is good. You build experience and air miles and a depth of knowledge. Stop looking ahead all the time, and spend some time looking around where you are now- don’t rush through the garden to the gate and instead spend time smelling the flowers.

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Published by Dick Stone

Radio...its always been radio.

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