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Near Enough is Good Enough

Dart missing centre of targetHow much effort do you put into writing your speech? How much effort do you put into making it perfect?

The answer should be based on Pareto’s law, also known as the 80/20 rule. Roughly speaking this means that you will get 80% of your results for 20% of your efforts.

Once the subject matter of a speech is known, most people can write the bulk of it in a fairly short space of time.

This will result in a reasonable quality speech, which will satisfy an audience.  Given that you have probably only made 20% of your efforts at this point, it really is worth sitting down and tweaking the speech.

Brighten up your word pictures, add some alliteration, inject some similes, analogies and metaphors, change the paragraph order, hone your opening and closure etc.

However you will soon be impacted by the law of diminishing returns and small improvements will require more effort than they are worth.

This is when it is time to stop and say “near enough is good enough”

We would all like to be perfect but the reality is that perfection is more of a concept than a reality.  As professionals we tend to compare ourselves with other professionals and raise our game to the level of the industry experts.

While this is desirable, remember that, in general, your audience are unlikely to know more than you, or have your speaking skills, otherwise why are you on the platform?

Of course you should always strive to improve, but if you find yourself spending an hour looking through a thesaurus to find a better word for vermillion, then it really is time to stop and say –

Near enough is good enough