Do you Work Hard Once (WHO) or Work Hard All the Time (WHAT)?

I’m a fan of the former, having endured a couple of unwanted trips to Exhaustion City over the last twenty years. Now, rather than manage my time, I attempt to manage my energy, although this is a work in progress.

When I heard about the WHO concept for the first time (the acronym, not the English rock band, formed in 1964) it made a lot of sense.

Work Hard Once means putting time and effort into something we can use time and time again, without too much fresh input. We do this with documents such as a contract or templated form – stuff that requires a slight amend each time – but we rarely apply WHO to our verbal communication.

We think we should be fresh every time, have something new to say. We hope, don’t we, that it’ll just happen. But does it?

Quite often, we come away from interactions and opportunities having left something out. We say, ‘I wish I’d mentioned X’ or ‘I forgot to say Y, dang it’.

If you WHO, by preparing multi-use ‘content’, you become more fluent in the way you say stuff. We can land our messages more clearly and more memorably – be it in how we talk with colleagues, in meetings, on panels, on TV or radio, or during presentations.

When I work with people to develop their keynotes, we start with a structure they can use every time. And then we create interchangeable and repeatable ‘chunks’ they can swap in and out depending on the audience du jour – rather than reinventing the wheel every time they need a speech.

In other words, we can develop our stuff and get better at it.

For example, when my creative and clever speaker mate, Julie Holmes, was in the audience during one of my talks – she had an idea that would help me. If you’ve seen me speak, you’ll know I do an interactive bit with a handful of audience members up on the stage. It’s the playful “Use Penny’s FACE for Better Communication’ game show. (FACE being the tool to prepare all this good ‘content’.)

Julie came up to me at the end and suggested a way I could improve what I was doing, in fact, she suggested a prop. Read this post to find out what it was.

So, by adopting the WHO approach, I’m just honing my topic over time, and developing it, which is creative and fun.

I used my FACE masks for the first time this week and they went down a storm at the corporate HQ of a big software company. In fact, they wanted to keep them!

And for a reminder of how to use my FACE for yourself, to help you WHO then check out my previous blog post on  “FACE”.