How to stop over-promising and under-delivering

How to stop over-promising and under-delivering
Credit: TNW

We like to keep our readers on their toes – you can see this in the various personalities of our writers. You can also experience this first hand at our conferences. Promising too much? Maybe not enough. After all, one of the best business tools out there is under-promising and over-delivering.

In fact, that’s one reason why our conferences are so well received. This is partly by design and partly because that’s the nature of event management.

Just one example is how we approach our speakers.

We invite the best of the best. We then coach them to deliver personal and inspiring and interesting talks, and trust them to deliver upon that. But we don’t always know the topic of their presentation until we see it – meaning it’s difficult to oversell them.

Thankfully their presentations are almost always exceptional, and people walk away impressed. Don’t believe me? Remember, I’m not overselling you. Why not check it out yourself? But I digress…

If under-promising is such a powerful tool – if it’s relatively easy to do as a business – why’s it so difficult to do personally?

I tend to always promise I’ll have things done by tomorrow, and then end up needing another day. So I’m constantly over-promising and under-delivering. I don’t enjoy this, and wish I could change it. I’m just not sure how.

So here is my proposal: Let’s all help our coworkers out.

Spend the week questioning each other on deadlines. Whenever someone proposes to do something by a certain time, ask them: Is that deadline realistic? How can you work together to prevent disappointment?

And if my employees and peers see me promising something they know I won’t deliver, call me out on it!


This is my introduction text for last week’s issue of our TNW Weekly update. You can read the whole newsletter here, or sign up to receive your own copy. 

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