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by Alain Hunkins

In yesterday’s US mail, I received 6 offers for new credit cards.

You’d think the banks, hotels, and airlines making their pitches would do a better job of coordinating their timing with each other.

Each offering had its own selling points:

Get 10% cash back for the first 90 days!

Sign up and get a $100  gift certificate!

Earn 2 free flights with enrollment!

Stay for three nights in our hotel as new cardmember!

30,000 bonus miles are yours with a balance transfer!

No annual fee…ever!

I bet you’ve had similar mail deliveries.

What is your typical response?

Usually, I see the lot and toss it.

Yesterday’s barrage of information competing for my attention reminds me of something I see at business conferences all the time:

The Firehose Technique. (FT)

Here’s the thinking behind the FT.

We’re paying a lot of money to bring our people to this conference.  We’d better maximize our return.

Therefore, if it’d be good to have one executive talk, then two would be twice as good.

And hey!  8 speakers would 8 times as good!

While this looks good on paper, it doesn’t work in practice.

What happens all too often is each talk stands alone as its own entity, not factoring the others into the eqauation.

The speakers (and organizers) also don’t factor in the audience’s attention span.

If that wasn’t enough, add executive egos into the mix (if my presentation runs just 10 minutes long, it’s no big deal, besides who’s going to tell me no?), and soon you’ve got your people drowning in a Firehose of information.

You may know the FT by its other name:  Death by Powerpoint.

I saw that stack of envelopes yesterday, and tuned them out.

What do your people do when the Firehose is turned on?

Who’s holding the nozzle?  What other choices do you have?



Alain Hunkins leads personal and professional development trainings for individuals, teams and organizations. Over the last two decades, Alain has facilitated for over a thousand groups, ranging from at-risk youth to Fortune 500 executives. He moves between the educational, artistic, not-for-profit, government and corporate worlds. Alain sharpened his facilitation skills as an Educational Consultant in New York City, developing programs on many subjects, including Conflict Resolution, Networking, Customer Service, Communication, and Leadership.
Alain earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee Professional Theater Training Program. He is a certified Leadership Challenge & MBTI facilitator, as well as a certified co-leader for ManKind Project International, whose mission is to help men lead missions of service in their families, communities, and workplaces. Alain completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 1995.

– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.