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No. 771 / What figure skaters and salespeople have in common

If you’re an Olympic figure skater or diver or any other kind of athlete where your performance is being judged rather than measured, you have a choice: 

1) attempt something highly technical reasonably well, 

or 

2) execute a much simpler routine to near perfection. 

The same could be said for when you’re giving a presentation, interviewing, building a product, writing a book, planning an event, or a plethora of other functions—you have two options: 

Option 1: Attempt to deliver something extremely advanced. If this is your approach, you’d better know your stuff. Don’t go in there thinking you can get away with listing off a few buzzwords or pretending like you know what you are doing. You’d better, indeed, know what you are doing. Otherwise, you will crash and burn and it would have been better off if you’d never attempted the thing in the first place. 

Falls and bellyflops are automatic zeros. 

There may be a time and place to go the advanced route, but few people attempt this on the biggest stage for a reason. The risk rarely justifies the reward. However, if you can pull it off, you’ll leave those watching and observing wanting more.

Option 2: Some might call this the safe route. It’s simple but couldn’t be further from being easy. It’s sticking to what you know and absolutely nailing every detail imaginable. If you choose this option, you don’t have to worry about pushing the limits so much but rather focusing all of your energy on the execution. This is where things like tonality, typography, heel movement, splash radius, eye contact, demeanor, energy, and smooth landings come into play. Every detail matters in this case. 

I'm not sure which option is better. Champions have come from both strategies. But one thing is certain, both require the same amount of time, attention, dedication, and commitment to do well.