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You’re the Victim When You Overpromise

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
1 min read

Whether it’s partnership marketing, sales, or good ol’ service delivery, we’ve all overpromised at some point.

Maybe the client pressured you to say yes because they just needed this to happen right away, or maybe you wanted to try out a new service offering, or maybe you just needed the money. There are lots of reasons why you might overpromise.

The result is always the same: disaster. I saw a great example of this in the news today. It was a public spectacle-slash-shaming-slash-complete-humiliation. A guy named Matthew Spencer Peterson was nominated for a federal judgeship, and he was questioned on live television, most notably by Senator John Kennedy.

Kennedy asks Peterson: “Do you know what a motion in limine is?” To which Peterson responds, “Ummmm…yes? I haven’t…um, again, my background…”

That’s how you – or I – sound when we’re nailed for overpromising. It’s an ugly and unsettling sight. And while the intention behind the original overpromise may have been good, the result is always a spectacular disaster.

Next time the urge arises, avoid overpromising at all costs.