The internet is bulging with lists. Eight words to avoid in emails, six secrets for successful interviews, eleven things to think about when planning a conference and so on.
Many of these are created just to generate traffic on the list publisher’s website. One of the most famous – and successful – is 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity which generated more than 13 million views.
When padded out to create an easy to read article, they’re called listicles (list+ article). Some are helpful, many have no credibility and offer no evidence that they work. It’s impossible to follow them all and nor should you be tempted to use a tick-the-box style of management.
Create your lists
Create your own lists and better still, refer to them as guidelines. Include recommendations from trusted sources. Use a combination of skill, experience, sound advice and common sense to develop guidelines that work for you.
Remember, every presentation, media conference, sales pitch, speech and publicity campaign is different so your guidelines are merely a framework on which to hang your best ideas.
If you’re doing something highly technical, like landing a wide-body jet or conducting a tricky scientific experiment, a checklist is essential.
For anything else, focus on your objectives and you’ll do a good job every time.