Words Matter: Haste, Speed, and Process

This post was written by Hannah Morris, Director of Assessment & Advancement at The Latimer Group.  

We often remind people that communication is about a lot more than words. But there are also moments where we need to sit back and appreciate the power of words. As someone who has been fascinated by language my entire life, I find myself doing this rather often – especially when I uncover a distinction I never knew existed.

Before last week, I would have had a hard time explaining how ‘haste’ differed from ‘speed’, even though I know all about ‘haste’. Haste makes waste. That expression has been programmed into my brain and plays on repeat whenever my rush to complete a task causes that task to take even more time and effort than it should. The voice that says it can, at times, be nasty, or even singsong-y and taunting, like a younger sibling.

But then I stumbled upon, “Less haste, more speed.” And I wondered about the distinction being made.

I thought and read more, and realized that ‘haste’ is about hurry, about rushing a process, which causes us to skip steps. We grab a glass quickly, pull it from the shelf but neglect to secure our grip, which causes us to drop it on the floor. We write and send an email without pausing to review the tone and check for typos, which causes upset and damages credibility. We prepare for a meeting but forget to really consider our audience’s perspective and ultimately waste everyone’s time.

‘Speed’ is about rapidity of motion and usually has a positive connotation. If we move through a process with speed, we complete all steps quickly – and successfully. No glasses dropped, no offense given, no time lost.

Less haste, more speed.” is how we should all approach communication, especially in our time-crunched world.

We should not just focus on getting an idea out and hoping it will land. We need process. We need to break down our communication into discrete skills and steps and follow the order of operations to ensure a comprehensive approach. This is what we have built at The Latimer Group, and it remains hugely valuable to us and our entire community. But even those of us who know the value of process still stumble to apply it here and there, and can almost always benefit from a reminder.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Hannah Morris

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.