AARRGGHH!! aka overwhelm

Unrelated introductory question: How do you fit in ALL the things?

Anything I find enjoyable and just for me, I struggle to put aside time for. Listening to podcasts, walking on Dartmoor, swimming – which is pretty much the only form of exercise I enjoy!

Anyway… I often listen to podcasts in the shower. That’s how I fit them in.

I mostly listen to business-related ones (folks like Stu McLaren, James Wedmore, Amy Porterfield) and hope there’s only one takeaway each time, so I can remember it once I get out and can make notes!

This is relevant, I promise. A bit, anyway…

Overwhelm example 1

Amy Porterfield is the latest addition to my podcast library, but I’ve been following her online for ages.

Her podcast started in 2013! Who knew podcasts had been around so long? Not me.

So I started listening to Amy’s podcast from the beginning – seemed a good place to start. In the first episode, she talked about using social media to grow your email list.

In just that one episode, she went in deep on…
– why emails get opened and why most get ignored
– how to work out what to offer as a freebie*
– examples of great freebies*
– types of strategies for building your email list
– step-by-step details of how to set up an offer on Facebook
– how to use YouTube to build your email list
– how to use Pinterest to build your email list, in detail!
– how to use Twitter to build your email list


I quickly realised I wouldn’t be able to remember all of that to make notes after I got out of the shower!

Luckily most of it was already stuff I knew, and I remembered the fab YouTube tip.

But that was a lot of stuff in one hit – pretty overwhelming, right?

But from what I’ve seen of her online, that’s just Amy. She knows a load of stuff and she really wants share that and help people – so she gives you everything she’s got!

She’s definitely slowed it down these days. She’s great, I’m a big fan of hers.

Overwhelm example 2

Here’s another thing I saw recently.

I got an email offering a series of free webinars offered by the local Growth Hub. Each one is 3 hours.

For a start, 3 hours is too long for a webinar. No-one can concentrate on online learning for that long in one hit.

The webinar topics included:
– the business planning process from start to finish
– manage your business finances
– marketing: target market, branding, marketing strategies, the 7Ps of marketing

All of that in just 3 hours!

OK, I’d be happy if everything I need to know about business finance could be done and dusted in just 3 hours..!

But squeezing in everything you need to know about marketing in 3 hours? Or understanding business planning well enough to set up a solid business proposition in just 3 hours?

That all sounds pretty overwhelming to me.

More is not better

So here’s the thing about overwhelm. It comes in 2 ways:
– overestimating how much people need from you
– overestimating how much people can absorb

If someone has a question or you want to tell them about something – just answer the question or tell them the one thing. They don’t need the entire back story and seven different ways to achieve the thing.

Extra information isn’t necessarily helpful – it can be so overwhelming that the key information is lost.

And just because you understand something well enough that you can rattle through it all in 3 hours, doesn’t mean everyone else can – especially people who are totally new to this information.

I’m trying to learn this stuff, too!

That’s why every week I do Ten Minute Tips.

I know I always go over 10 minutes, but if I don’t give myself some sort of short time limit I’ll be there all day!

I love all this stuff and I love sharing it – but I need to make sure it’s manageable and therefore helpful for people (that’s why I also do a written version – my weekly emails and blog articles).

Your takeaway for today

So here’s the key thing to consider:
– people don’t need a book’s worth of information in an hour
– people don’t need a term’s worth of teaching in 3 hours

It’s overwhelming.

The value of your services is not measured in the quantity of information you provide, it’s measured in the results people get from it. That’s what will bring them back for more.

I’ll say it again: The value of your services is not measured in the quantity of information you provide, it’s measured in the results people get from it.

That’s your takeaway for today.

Are you overwhelming your audience?

Break things down in to smaller steps. Help them get results for each, and they’ll come back for the next.
Bonus tip: If you find someone’s info overwhelming, ask them to break it down – or find someone else!. It’s not that you don’t understand it, it’s that they’re not explaining things in an appropriate way.
* freebies are the giveaways that people offer if you sign up to their email list, like ‘how to grow your Facebook audience without paying for ads’

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  1. Pingback: Zoning out, and how to avoid it » Plain Sailing

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