One ill-judged comment really can bring your whole world crashing down around you.
I just read an interesting article on the BBC news channel today. It recounts the drama unfolding on the internet regarding the ill-conceived comments made by one Logan Paul, a quote “American You Tube star,” and the ensuing online backlash.
I confess I have not watched the video myself – life is too short and I’m too busy – so I am not making any judgements or criticisms of any kind about the actual content or the associated discussions. It is easy to throw accusations and blame around and I’m not above dropping the odd rick now and again myself.
What is fascinating to me here is the lack of Emotional Intelligence (EI) displayed by Logan Paul when posting this video. He, and apparently the people who advise him, failed to consider the potential upset the video may have caused others when he sent it to 15 million subscribers. I suspect he is not alone in his misery. I have dropped myself in the proverbial many times throughout my life via poorly judged comments and statements. We all do it from time to time. I am better able to learn from my mistakes nowadays.
What can you and I, and Logan Paul if he ever reads this, do to reduce the likelihood of making such mistakes in the future?
In its barest essence, EI comprises four parts:
- Understanding of self
- Regulation of self
- Understanding of others
- Managing relationships with others
After much research and experiential wound licking. I always recommend running a pre-flight check of any message before you deliver it.
Let’s apply a potential thought experiment to the Logan Paul scenario (hypothetical of course but it illustrates the process).
Understanding of self – Logan likely understands himself well enough. He knows what he likes and gathers like-minded people around him. This displayed self-knowledge and willingness to share with the world is likely to have contributed to him having 15 million followers in the first place. So far so good. Tick number one for the understanding of self.
Regulation of self – the wheels are wobbling a bit here. Logan needs to put out material for his channel which his audience will enjoy. He has clearly been doing a reasonable job so far. The problem for Logan this time is he has failed to separate what he feels is suitable from what his audience thinks is suitable. What he thinks is personal of course but not all of what he thinks is suitable for sharing. This box should have a tentative cross in it or at the very least a question mark. If he felt world would genuinely benefit from this message he could have tested the waters with some trusted people outside of his crew to get a go or no-go decision.
Understanding of others – this is where the rot should have stopped and would have done if he had run such a pre-flight check. Logan must have felt he had a solid handle on how his followers think. This was clearly not the case. He stomped all over untested ground and fell into the quicksand of outrage. There are certain broadcasters who specialise in dark or risky material. People know this and either love them or loathe them. It appears here, however, that Logan sprung this ego-driven nugget of self-satisfying material on an unsuspecting audience. They likely feel let down and misunderstood as much as simply outraged by the content. Test your material gently and get to know your audience limits before dropping bombshells. There should be a cross in this box and a no broadcast decision to follow.
Managing relationships with others – now an ongoing saga. Due to his lack of audience understanding, poor old Logan has mishandled his relationship with them. I believe he has apologised but for Logan getting through this will be a big test of his character and mental toughness. This avoidable phase is now a work in progress and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. Perhaps I’ll put out a part two.
Why not consider running your own pre-flight check for all your messages? With practice and diligence, it can become a positive habit and, when it becomes a habit, you’ll find it happens almost instantly for you.
Don’t do a Logan Paul. Your pre-flight EI check could save you a world of hurt.
Here is the BBC video link if you’d care to watch: