My first year playing Little League baseball was a nightmare.
If I was lucky, the opposing pitcher walked me. More often than not, I struck out.
When it came our turn to take the field, invariably one of the coaches would look at me and mutter, “Right field.” He might as well have said, “Go sit in the parking lot!” And if the occasional left-hander hit a fly ball my way, I could do little more than watch as it sailed overhead.
But something happened the following winter that altered my baseball destiny.
Sitting in school, I realized I had a hard time seeing the writing on the blackboard. So off we went, my mother and me, to visit the eye doctor. A few weeks later I was sporting the finest in black horn-rimmed glasses. Quite stylish for their time!
My corrected eyes opened up a whole new world. And as you might have guessed, when the next baseball season rolled around, things changed out there on the diamond.
My batting average climbed to over 300. I went from hitting ninth to the number four “cleanup” spot. The coaches moved me to left field – a coveted position in the days of Carl Yastrzemski – where I snagged most of what came my way.
All in all, it was an unexpected transformation in performance. But one that had nothing to do with developing new skills, buying fancy equipment, getting a bigger allowance, or friending anyone on Facebook.
The only thing that changed was my clarity of vision.
Now, the day-to-day life of a B2B marketing communication professional can seem a little blurry at times. Still, odds are you have the baseline skills pretty well under control. You know how to:
So then, how come it feels like you keep missing the ball?
Sales folks ignore the content you write; customers don’t get excited about your messages; or email response rates improve, but those prospects soon fade away.
The answer may come down to something besides skill and effort: Maybe it’s time to look at business communication through a different lens.
Here’s what I mean:
“Ah,” you say. “Doesn’t all this take more time, money and skills than we have?” “Maybe a little,” I say. What it mostly takes is seeing how to use your time, money and skills in a different way.
And once you’ve adjusted to that new pair of spectacles, you just might discover that you can hit it out of the park.