Graham🐝 Edwards

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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The messaging of an idea... solutions and problems — PART 3

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As Renée Cormier and I continue to dig deeper into "The messaging of an idea" (which I might add Jerry Fletcher called an arduous task), we have been spending a fair bit of time discussing and debating how to approach it — because as Jerry suggested it's a big and meaty topic. I'm of the mind set that we build our efforts organically using our original posts, incorporating our ongoing discussions, people's thoughts and insights, as well as any comments that come our way.

I think the jury is still out as far as Renée is concerned. 

In a recent discussion, the point about not letting an idea be a "solution looking for a problem" came up — and somewhere in the discussion Renée asked, "What do you do when your solution has problems?". She then reached for a blue sticky note in her bag, wrote on it, and stuck it on my computer. Triumphantly she said, "There... there is your next blog topic". 

"What to do when your solution has problems?"

I am almost certain someone, somewhere, is thinking that it can't be much of a solution if it has problems right out of the gate. Although that may be true in a perfect world, in the real world there are two truisms that you need to consider — there is no such thing as perfection and there will always be problems (some big and some small). 

Recognizing this, there are two considerations that come with this question... one has to do with messaging and the other does not; although it does influence the messaging of your solution (aka idea).

Understand the problems that are associated with your solution —

Although this is not directly associated with the art and science of messaging your solution, it does influence what you have you say, as well as how you are going to say it. It is extremely important to understand the problems that will impact how you will make your solution a reality — and I will say it is much easier said than done. It's crucial to look at your solution as objectively as possible, understand its strengths and opportunities, and understand its weaknesses and PROBLEMS. There are two outcomes in doing this: 

  • An understanding if your solution can really solve the problem.
  • A prioritized list of the problems your solution has to work through (from biggest to smallest).

In doing this you will — 1) determine if your solution is viable and 2) identify (and understand) the problems you need to work through for the best solution.

As I say, this can be very difficult to accomplish when you look at your solution in the cold, stark, light of reality — we humans are notoriously optimistic and sadly this has given birth to the saying, "He's living in a fantasyland".

Messaging a solution that inherently has problems (and they all do) —

"Be honest and transparent — full stop".

I suppose I should elaborate a little. It is always best to lead with the strengths and opportunities associated with your solution, and of course minimize your weaknesses and problems — that's just good "selling". This is not to suggest that you should ever misrepresent yourself, but rather acknowledge this is an aspect of managing how you present the problems that come with your solution.

It is important to do two things here : 

  • Without apologizes, be clear what the problems of your solution are.
  • More importantly, have a plan to overcome any major problems (and if you can't, see above).

Oh, and something else...

When you are actually presenting your idea (and solution) make sure you listen to what people are saying, the questions they have, and the challenges they make. Your audience is not just trying to understand what you are saying, but experience has shown, also try to help solve the problems your solution may have.

And one last point since I'm on a roll, and it's a very important one — if you ever find yourself saying "they don't know what they're talking about" after your presentation, then there is a very high probability you are living in a fantasyland.*

Just sayin'.


* I know this to be true because I've heard it said before.

Graham Edwards
Graham Edwards is a seasoned sales and marketing leader with over 25 years in the biotech
industry. Graham is an accomplished leader and visionary with a reputation for effective
strategy, creative problem solving and execution. Well recognized for his ability to drive
growth, Graham brings a wealth of cross-functional skill sets in sales and marketing, strategic
g and execution, business development, process improvement and succession


Graham is especially passionate about working with start-ups but loves to drive results for any business in
need. Well known for his strategic excellence and problem solving, Graham's tendency toward creative
thinking allows him to develop some rather interesting and effective solutions for his clients.

Renée Cormier

Few public relations & communications specialists have as diverse a background as Renée
Cormier. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing
— strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. In her career Renée has
Ie leadership roles in sales and marketing, developed and implemented national marketing
4 © Kirategies and was responsible for teams as large as 28 strong. She brings a wide range of
experience and talent to her work.
Renée really shines in communications. She is known for developing and implementing comprehensive
communications strategies and generating results through flawless implementation. With such strong
business acumen, passion for her work and a natural talent for business strategy, Renée is definitely
considered an important resource for her clients.

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Graham🐝 Edwards

4 years ago #5

Thanks for the comment Jerry Fletcher... I hope you mom is doing well. I'd love to here more about your ProPlnr... maybe an overview "blog"? Enjoy the downsizing.... I did it about two years ago... it's amazing how much "stuff" we have, and even more amazing still is how little we actually need. Enjoy.

Graham🐝 Edwards

4 years ago #4

Thx for the comment and insight Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier

Graham🐝 Edwards

4 years ago #3

Thanks for the comment Paul \... you are right... eventually everyone has to pick a side or nothing gets done.

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #2

Graham, Thanks for the shout out. I've been tending to an aging Mom for the last week and less than diligent about keeping up with beBee Posts. In my view. no solution is perfect. Military folks know that after the first bullet is fired the plan or solution will no longer be valid. That's why great tactical commanders are always needed. I'm reviewing and trashing files as I prepare to downsize at the end of the month. I've been consulting now for over 25 years. I've had one document I've maintained from day one. I call it the ProPlnr. It is the solutions I've developed and honed over the years. I've kept most of the iterations as some are useful just as they were written on a CPM computer in the beginning. Others have morphed over time and now are significantly better tools than in the beginning. Because of the way our world changes there are damn few perfect solutions. Knowing that you have to bend it and sometimes break it is what it takes to master this art.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #1

I agree, Paul. Certainly, there is no one size fits all. I agree with Graham that focusing on the strengths and downplaying the weaknesses is important. Besides, the perception of a problem is relative. What's a big deal for one person is nothing at all to another. Great post, Graham\ud83d\udc1d Edwards. You can tell from my post, that I went off on an entirely different slant. When we spoke, I was thinking in terms of language you use to soften the reality or manipulate the perception of a "solution". Manipulative language got me thinking about how some people fall into manipulating others rather easily, and hence my post on spotting manipulative communication. Sales communication can be quite manipulative, but not typically abusive.

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