It may sound paradoxical, but perfectionists are mediocre performers, says a new book from Wiley. “Do not confuse perfection with excellence,” advises The 12 Factors of Business Success: Discover, Develop, and Leverage YourStrengths by Kevin Hogan, Dave Lakhani, and Mollie Marti (

People who require perfection of themselves or others are very likely to not succeed in most of their ventures, the authors argue. “Perfection becomes procrastination in many cases. It becomes an excuse for accomplishment.” What is excellence, then? It means you give everything you have to give all day to the people who are your customers, clients, friends and others of your choice, the authors define.

Splendidly reassuring.

Three stages of communication

Matching, pacing and leading are the three stages of communication, says Ian R. McLaren in Communication Excellence: Using NLP to Supercharge Your Business Skills (

Matching is the process of reflecting behaviour and language back to the other person, he explains. “If you are communicating well, you naturally move into a joint space, where you will move together, share expressions, voice tone, language and emotions. This is called rapport.”

The second stage, pacing, involves information-gathering. “Learn how to read physiological cues and elicit information about what is going on when somebody is doing something. We then have to put the information together into structures used by the subject and useful to us, so that we can build a model of what is happening.”

In leading, the final stage of communicating, you put across what you want from the conversation. “By putting your message in the terms that are most likely to be understood and appreciated — the ones that you have found by pacing — you stand the best chance of achieving your outcome.”

Suggested read.

Online vs offline communication

One characteristic of online communication — and, for that matter, all text-based interactions — is the lack of non-verbal cues, write Steve Duck and David T. McMahan in The Basics of Communication: A relational perspective(

“Non-verbal communication, such as vocalics and kinesics, is incredibly valuable when crafting and interpreting messages,” the authors inform. They caution that misunderstandings are more likely to occur during online interactions than during telephone conversations or face-to-face interactions. “Emoticons, text-based symbols used to express emotions online, often help alleviate problems associated with a lack of non-verbal cues.” Helpfully, again, the book cites research findings that people generally feel they are able to better express themselves online than during offline interactions.

In-depth discussion.

D. Murali

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 27, 2008)
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