In 1957 C. Northcote Parkinson (British naval historian and author of 60 books, the most famous of which was his bestseller Parkinson’s Law) came up with the law of triviality. This is an argument that members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.
He writes about a finance committee meeting with a three-item agenda: The first is the signing of a £10 million contract to build a reactor, the second a proposal to build a £350 bicycle shed for the clerical staff, and the third proposes £21 a year to supply refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee.
So the first item, which is £10 million contract, passes in two and a half minutes.
Parkinson describes the second item as – “Discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some £50. Members at length sit back with a feeling of accomplishment.”
And the third item he is writing: “Every man there knows about coffee – what it is, how it should be made where it should be bought – and whether indeed it should be bought at all. This item on the agenda will occupy the members for an hour and a quarter, and they will end by asking the secretary to procure further information, leaving the matter to be decided at the next meeting.”
As we can see people are more willing to talk about minor issues and give it more time than talk about something big and important! This desire is connected to the point that we all have an opinion based on our knowledge about something wide and little, like coffee. And we are pretty confident to talk about that. But if we talk about something big/specific we feel insecure. Cause we may not be specialists on the topic. And we can’t share our thought freely about that. So most of us will think: I don’t have experience on that, I can’t talk about that freely, I don’t understand in detail, so I will agree with someone who looks more knowledgeable than me.
And before you represent yourself/your idea to another person/company you must be carefully prepared what you will say. Work on your content, do a lot of research, use a simple language, give a proof to your words, make it visible, so they can see it. They can understand it. Follow their reaction and give the other side time to response. And that’s really important because you if you see that they are focusing more on something little, that your content is blurred to them. That’s a lack of understanding. And a lot of people fail on that.
Be clear about your big things at any levels. And always give a solution for something little, so no one spent time on that.
Good luck! 😉
The material has been written for this course.