Small things matter
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2018 - 12:00am

I don’t know why, but speakers who bask in the limelight are often perceived as  “successful.”

I have had the privilege of meeting and knowing many of the good speakers. They shrug away this concept because they know they still need to improve, and they actually do. Maybe this is the reason why some newcomers try their darnest best to project “success.” They think that not being perceived as “successful” might hurt their credibility, especially if they have been invited to speak on “success.”

This is a strange concept. In fact, the reverse effect holds true. In my line of work I have met people from all walks of life. Most of them are very polite and would rather keep their peace and refrain from commenting even when they do not like what I said. Believe me, I have said some pretty stupid things that should not have been said, and I live to regret it. Others are direct, sometimes brash and they will really speak out and let me know that they disagree with me and would engage me in a healthy argument.

This comes with the job, part of the trade. And oftentimes the healthy discussion leads to my further improvement and makes me better at what I do. And then there are people who are very wise and polite. There are also those who are not so bright, but they pretend they are. Always trying to make an impression. Perhaps wanting to be seen as “successful” means a lot more to them than actually being successful. Take a careful look at those who are trying versus those who are. Those who lack the depth of experience either quote stories of other people, name-drops famous people, use text-book examples without having enough personal experiences, and have very little original ideas of their own. When you listen closely, they are the heroes of their own stories. The speech centers and revolves around them, but they leave the audience none the wiser.

The professional consultants and speakers work differently. They listen. They ask questions. They make sure that every detail, no matter how big or small, is taken cared of. They polish their presentation. They read up on the subject matter. They do due diligence and they make sure they know their audience. These professional speakers I know may have been accused as being “picky,” while others accuse them of acting like prima donnas.

Mind you the two accusations are not the same. Acting like prima a donna is repulsive. Showing up late. Insulting the audience. Entering the arena with a battalion of production assistants throwing their weight around and making event organizers nervous. These are not the things I am talking about because the best of them oftentimes are very simple, refuse to draw attention to themselves, and would make sure that he or she treats each person with respect and dignity. But they are obsessed with the small details. They want to make sure that the sound system works, the attire they wear is appropriate. Their shoes are shined, their materials are well prepared. These are small things that matter to them.

They are not being picky because small details matter. They sweat over the small details because they know that such details are the ones that bring them to the big things. These people are professionals. They know the difference small details make, while amateurs do not have the depth of knowledge, nor the experience to tell the difference. To them everything is just the same.
Many people visualize the big picture in terms of their success and goals. But when it comes to the smaller details, they do not have the patience to work on it. They fail to understand that there is:

1. The big picture. This is the target. This is the goal. This is the desired outcome. But then there are…

2. The small details. These are the parts of business and career that is unsexy. Sweating it out. Studying the numbers. Following the system and routine.

But when these details are taken care of then this leads them to the Big Picture without which the successful outcome will never materialize. They will always be disappointed.

Small details matter. Success, which is the outcome, the big picture is simply a summary of the details that made it so. Whether it is public speaking, conducting training for a seminar, reaching targets, running a business and making it profitable, the same principles apply.

As famous coach John Wooden would say: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” And you can bet he is right.

(Attend and experience two inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong in his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop this April 18-19 at Seda Hotel, BGC. For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at

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