“MEGO” (My Eyes Glaze Over) doesn’t just happen in conversational situations—it’s a reaction that should be anticipated, and prevented, with any message, whether it’s written, posted, Tweeted or YouTubed.
When I’m not deciding what’s “safe” or “out” for the pages of C&RB, I sometimes venture out to the baseball diamond, to umpire high-school games. Before each game, the state athletic association that certifies umpires requires that we read a sportsmanship message to coaches and players. The message was written (and no doubt rewritten, countless times) by a bunch of lawyers and bureaucrats—so as you can imagine, it is full of overblown, unnecessary language and incredibly poor phrasing.
As a writer/editor, it pains me greatly to have to read it as written—but I must, or face discipline and loss of my certification. So I force myself through it—and I’ve now done it so many times, I can predict, without fail, how quickly I’ll see “MEGO” (My Eyes Glaze Over) set in among all the people I’m reading it to. It’s a classic example of completely ineffective communication, because in constructing and conveying the message, the communicator(s) made no attempt to understand and tailor it to the audience and situation. (As proof of just how ineffective it is in this case, it’s usually not far into the game before I have to remind a coach or player that I already told them poor sportsmanship wouldn’t be tolerated—and more often than not their response is, “When did you say that?”)
Future success in our industry will hinge on being able to make a broader group of people who have a wider range of recreational and social options decide they want to come to club and resort properties. And that will make effective, on-target communication, in a variety of forms, all the more critical. “MEGO,” after all, doesn’t just happen in conversational situations—it’s a reaction that should be anticipated, and prevented, with any message, whether it’s written, posted, Tweeted or YouTubed.
A key part of ongoing training and performance evaluation for every department head and manager, in fact, should involve putting all of the ways that he or she communicates with members, staff, vendors and others to a two-way MEGO test. Observe the reactions that the chef gets during a pre-meal stand-up—and when it’s over, ask a few of those who were addressed some questions that will quickly reveal just how much of the message actually got through. After an e-blast goes out from the golf or fitness department, pull some members aside who you know are active in those areas, to see if they a) got it, b) remember what was in it and c) reacted to its content in any way, good or bad.
Poll some of your older members, first to see how they’d prefer to receive club information (don’t just assume they’ll always want everything in printed form) and then to make sure you are always providing them with user-friendly communications (this group can have some special requirements that can affect their reception and response). And even if you don’t have a sounding board like Mizner CC’s Junior Board of Directors, find a few younger members, sit down with them at a computer, ask them to call up your club website, and watch how they navigate (or get bored with) its content. If you have a mobile app, do the same with people you think are most likely to use it.
In all cases, the intent should be to identify where the communication by you and your staff, in any form, is hitting the mark—and where it’s falling short. And then to make the adjustments that can try to keep MEGO to a minimum.