Happy Friday! On a recent flight (don’t do it; it’s become even a bigger PIA lately!!), I watched Malcolm Gladwell in a Masterclass on writing, discuss making a promise that you don’t keep. His point was that imperfection or failure is what’s interesting, not a neat and tighty argument that’s complete and leaves the reader asking, “so, what?” He went on to argue that (mildly) irritating the reader should drive the writing and that narrative will keep the reader engaged.
As this notion maybe counterintuitive to many of us, I began to research the idea and stumbled onto a perfectionist’s nightmare! It’s called the Pratfall Effect.
Imagine arriving for an interview dressed to impress, you nail the conversation, and just as you’re wrapping up, you spill coffee all over yourself! Yikes. But something surprising happens…. You get the job! In fact, the interviewer actually likes you “more” after spilling the coffee. Surprised? Don’t be.
Studies show that we sometimes “prefer” imperfections. And brands that flaunt their flaws tend to sell more! One research showed that 66% of the participants actually enjoyed an imperfect cookie to the perfectly round ones.
In 1968, sales of the VW Beetle skyrocketed because of this unconventional ad. VW flaunted the fact that the Beetle was a small car. The result? Demand exploded and the Beetle became one of the most iconic cars in history.
Most of us would agree that Elon Musk is a brilliant marketer. Remember the Cybertruck unveiling in 2019, where he said the glass was unbreakable and threw a rock at the window, and it shattered in front of his global audience? Event Tesla made a joke of it, selling their own t-shirt. And promptly selling 250,000 Cybertrucks – I’ve had a deposit down on one for a couple of years!
The science is clear. People don’t want perfection. They want real, authentic, and fallible. What they really want is relatable. Especially in today’s “social media as everyone’s highlight reel” world! 4.6-star ratings drive more sales than 5-star ratings.
So, what does this mean for you?
- Stop trying to be perfect; your flaws make you human! And more likeable.
- Don’t sweat teh occasional typo!
- Welcome those who may not be your cup of tea. Those 1-star reviews are learning and growth moments!
By all means, please don’t misunderstand my coaching here. Let’s not over do it. And I really need my mechanic, surgeon, pilot, and accountant to be perfect! 😉 There is a fine line between small imperfections and incompetence, so be careful.
I’m coaching several people, including both of my kids, how you do anything is how you’ll do everything. Listening lowder, attention to details, and a job well done will always be vogue!