The wrong KISSNo, I am not referring to the silver-panted, platform-shoed tongue waggers that want to “Rock and Roll All Night.” Instead, I am referring to that oft-abused, but ever-relevant adage: Keep It Simple Stupid! Or Keep it Simple Silly as I have often seen corporate trainers use in trembling fear of offending someone. I always found that when someone used the word “stupid” and directed it at me, I listened, but maybe that has more to do with self-deprecation than the validity of the word itself. And”silly” just sounds condescending — offend me, but please never be condescending.

Peat and I just closed up shop today at the Corporate Communicator’s Conference. Yesterday morning, I had been panicked. The conference started at 8:00 and it was 8:15 and no one had approached our booth yet. I started telling Peat how I wasn’t cut out for this and asking him if he would edit my resume right there at the booth! Peat, of course, being far more cool and collected simply pretended he didn’t hear me. Of course, it never occurred to me that I don’t like talking to people at 8:00 in the morning, so why would it surprise me that other people would want to get their chocolate filled croissant, collect their thoughts and hear Steve Crescenzo sing before coming over to our booth? I know that’s a lot more like what I like to do in the mornings, except my preference is that all days would start after 9:00 am and end by 12:00 in time to go to a day game at Wrigley. (Today was close to that except it started with a 7:00 mimosa brunch…you can get me up early for champagne drinks any day of the week…too bad the Cubbies couldn’t pull it off in the 9th.)

So, people did finally start coming over to chat with us once they got the bearings and we had great conversations about what their challenges are in their different industries — health care, banking, automotive, airlines, etc. And I got to share with them what I was able to accomplish at adidas and now what I am trying to do with Chatter Mill — give employees a voice to management in a safe way. One of the core values of our platform is to keep it simple. Communicators have a ton of different channels to provide information to employees, so we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Chatter Mill is a question and answer tool with a rating system that provides simple reports. Nothing more, nothing less.

The best gift from this conference was learning that we were right when we KISSed Chatter Mill. When it’s simpler to understand, it’s more likely people will get on-board — and this is true for any communication tool.

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