- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

The comms lesson from my overstuffed suitcase

13th July, 2022

The comms lesson from my overstuffed suitcase

We’re off on holiday soon and I’ve started packing already in anticipation.


My suitcase isn’t huge.


But boy, I’ll stuff that sucker full.


7 pairs of socks, despite the forecast being 32 degrees (you just never know).


5 pairs of shoes (I’ll only wear one – the most comfy).


10 books, 8 of which I’ll read and two will come home untouched (the same two heavy-going political biographies that go with me on every holiday. You’d think I’d learn…)


I know I don’t need all this stuff, but there’s room so – what the hell.


My 6’ 5” husband will have to lean on it to persuade the zip to shut, and I’ll regret overpacking the moment we land.


(I once took a 32 kilo suitcase on our honeymoon to New Zealand. It got bumped off every one of the 7 flights we took and caused chaos. I’m lucky we got home still married…)


And that overstuffed, bloated suitcase reminds me of the emails, presentations, talks and meetings we have to consume every day.


Stuffed full-to-bursting with nice-to-haves, like my untouched biographies and high heels.


But here’s the reality: probably only 20% is useful.


The rest is just padding.


So don’t be like me and my packing.


Don’t fill every inch of space just because it’s there. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.


Leave glorious white space on your Powerpoint slides.

Finish meetings early (you really don’t always need an hour).

Keep your emails to 80 words or fewer.


Ditch the non-essentials.


So think more hand luggage, less baggage if you want people to listen to what you’ve got to say.

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

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