Goal Achievement – Comma Causes Communication Chaos!

Here’s a little story about a little comma, and some great life lessons to be found…

Peter Cook is a business consultant, who bases his work around drawing business lessons from the world of rock. Depending on when you read this, one particular event of his may have already taken place – the 19th June 2012.

I’ll give you link to that later on, but what got me paying attention was not the fact that he had got coverage in the Independent newspaper, which is a great goal achievement lesson right there, but something I saw in their coverage…

To explain, here’s one sentence directly from The Independent’s piece…

“Cook will be joined by Bernie Tormé, former lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and Ian Gillan, the Deep Purple singer.”

Cook will indeed be joined by Bernie Torme. Fact.
Torme was indeed guitarist for Ozzy. Fact.
Torme was also guitarist for Ian Gillan. Fact.
Ian Gillan will not be, and was never due to be, at the event.

Can you see what happened? Read the sentence again, and now that you know that Torme played for Ozzy and Gillan, you can see that it says just that. If you didn’t know those facts though, the placing of the comma could suggest that Gillan will be there as well as Torme.

Yes, you might be ask, all mildly interesting, but so what?

Well, The Express paper made exactly that mistake! They published an article about it, with a big picture of Gillan, saying he would be there.

Then the NME noticed the Express article, and also used a picture of Gillan. This led other rock websites to run with the story – you can see it on Gibson’s website.

Although this has been great publicity, and just what you want from a single press release, it has led to extra work for Peter, because he now has to go to the papers/websites involved, informing them that Gillan was never in the mix for the event.

Ok, here’s a link to Peter’s site so you can get an idea:

Here are the lessons I got from all this…

– The press can be great for spreading a story, and although it can spread by itself, the initial spark probably has to come from you, I.e. sending a press release.
– Basic journalism courses would tell you to check your facts, but in this case, it’s clear that lots of journalists simply equate ‘checking facts’ with ‘read it in another paper’.
– Lazy journalism, yes, but it brings up another point, which is to not accept facts just because someone presents them as facts. Do your own research and then make a judgement yourself.

In the realm of goal achievement, this could be someone telling you that you can’t do something. Will you believe it just because they say so, or will you try it yourself, find out for yourself?

So, the next time someone tells you that you can’t achieve your goal, remember this little story of a little comma, and be prepared to do your own checking!

Let me know what you think!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. This is exactly the kind of lesson I talk about in my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’

Do leave a comment!

Leave a Comment