Slow in the curves

OpEd from the desk of Transporter Editor Reed Hollinshead

The best road trips have a few things in common. You start of with a destination in mind. You map out a route to get there. You have a vehicle and supplies for the trip. In other words, you prepare. It’s not all left to chance and happenstance.

Good communication follows that same blueprint.

You prepare. Put together a game plan. Start with the end in mind. Figure out how you’re going to get there. Keep it simple. In most things, complexity is the enemy of engagement, execution, and understanding. Map out your route, then proceed to that route.

But there is one big difference: in a road trip, the participants are usually already convinced of the value of the trip - that’s why they’re going with you. But in communication, the audience may need convincing. They are on the journey with you, but may not be totally sold on its merits. That’s why you keep it slow in the curves - so you don’t lose them along the way. Don’t go through the yellow light if they aren’t going to follow you through because it’s turning red.

You can keep the light green.

Try not to move from one topic to the next without a proper transition. Think of it as the bridge connecting two pieces of your road trip. What came before was necessary to get to this point, but you need the transition in order to get to the destination.

And we all know that going on a road trip and not getting to the destination is incredibly unsatisfying. It’s like eating a cream-filled donut and stopping before you get to the cream, or watching a movie for hours and then the projector breaks in the last 10 minutes of the show.

A little uncertainty is OK, but too much of the unknown can lead to ulcers, which are definitely not good travel companions.

So keep it slow in the curves. Bring the audience along with you. You know that there is something really neat awaiting at the Final Destination, but they may need regular reminders along the way. These encouragements help them complete the journey and get all they can from the experience.

Keep it simple. Pick a single point, then build everything else around it as support to get to the destination. Since we already know the destination, we owe it to the audience to clear the path by getting rid of all the excess.

And that, really, is what the best road trip is all about - a shared, enjoyable experience.

Published 08-03-18