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Expect to repeat.;...really; expect to repeat

Google has proved a surprisingly good place not just for great work and good food, but also pretty savvy management advice.

Something I've heard from execs at Google a few times (appropriately!) now is the need to repeat to get your message it across. I've heard it stated two ways that I've really liked:

"By the time you start to get bored saying something, is the time other people are starting to believe what you're saying"


"It takes saying something 20 times, before people start to get it"

I have to admit this was something that annoyed me when I first started here. I'm sure I encountered it before Google as well, but it seemed much more often out here (both internal and external to Google.)

I'd often find myself thinking "...but I'd told you this" or "we'd talked about this last week" even as I went over it yet again. It'd get a little annoying.

But I've realized that ideas and messages just take time to get through. Some of it because
  • people are distracted or have too much going on (as someone once said 10% of the attention/headspace of a really smart person is a pretty average intellect) and given our multi-tasking ways at work that's pretty much what you have to work with most of the time.
  • surprisingly many people just need to hear something again and again before they believe you. The re-enforcement just helps.
  • some things just need time to sink in.
  • I may not have explained it very well the last time.
  • ...and of course some skulls are just thicker than others :-D
So these days when I'm asked to repeat my logic/arguments for something, a smile tends to come to me. I see it just as part of the process and means I'm a little closer to getting the person to believe.


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