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Tired of Repeating Yourself to Your Employees?

Written by Ken DeWitt on June 1, 2017

Employees People

businessman speaking into a megaphone, repeating himself to his employeesWhen I was a leader in one of my own businesses early in my career, I had the misfortune to discover that my employees had nicknamed me “Hurricane.” It was NOT a compliment! 

Part of what earned me that nickname was the rage I felt when I had to repeat myself several times with my employees. I thought telling people something once should be enough! I hired really smart people, so when they didn’t seem to remember things I’d told them, I thought they just weren’t paying enough attention to what I said, and that made me furious.

I was certain that I was clear and concise. Maybe I even gave them some notes or a checklist on the subject. But alas, I’d find a week or a month later that they’d forgotten! And this boiled inside me, improperly coming out in my subsequent interactions with them.

What I didn’t realize then was that repeating yourself to your employees is beneficial. In EOS®, we have a saying: “You have to hear something seven times before you hear it for the first time.” And that is the truth. 

Repeat Yourself Repeatedly

Research into the brain’s short-term memory capacity shows that without repetition, people will forget most of the information they hear within 30 seconds. If they hear it another couple of times, they will begin to think, “He’s said that before.” But people don’t start to really sit up and take notice until they hear something for the seventh time.

That’s why repeating yourself is not only good, it’s necessary. The success of your vision, structure, accountability, achieving quarterly rocks, and even your Level 10 Meetings™ – all the BASICS of your business – depends on constant repetition. 

Think about it. We have a LOT going on in our lives every single day. All it takes is a bad night’s sleep, an argument with a significant other, or a rough client meeting, and anyone can forget even the most basic of tasks, processes, or procedures. That’s why repeating yourself on the basics is so critical.

Make Repetition a Habit

When you get to the point where you feel a bit silly because of all the repetition you’ve been doing, you still aren’t even close to having said it enough. You don’t actually master your message until you’ve repeated it a thousand times!

For me, this was a painful and expensive lesson. It cost me a lot in terms of high turnover, consultant’s fees, attendance at seminars, reading books, learning, and hard-fought experience. But I finally came to embrace the idea that repeating yourself is a good thing. You can’t create a culture based on your core values and your core focus without repeating your message constantly. 

Did you hear me the first time? Or the seventh?

Next Steps

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More Blog Posts: ← 5 Tips to Engage Employees in Meetings | How to Balance Employee Autonomy and Accountability