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Wednesday / December 14 / 2011

Why a 20-second KISS matters

Beaming parents Skip-n-Donna with our son Grant, graduate of the Charleston School of Law
Beaming parents Skip-n-Donna with our son Grant, graduate of the Charleston School of Law

As we pulled away from our gate in Myrtle Beach, the captain’s voice came over the speakers noting we were Number One for take-off, but would have to wait ten minutes as requested by the tower in Charlotte due to excessive traffic.

Arms linked, Skip-n-I closed our eyes and rested in our non-reclinable seats. The luck of the draw had us in the row just in front of the emergency exit.

No matter. A sense of excitement-induced exhaustion began to settle in.

The day prior was an eventful, pride-filled, emotional day as our son Grant earned his Juris Doctor at his graduation from the Charleston School of Law.

Parental pride is like no other. It enveloped Skip-n-me completely, not just because our son had worked so hard to realize a dream that was birthed when he was ten years old, but because he had taken steps – often painstakingly – to grow in his journey of self-discovery.


Pictures uploaded to Facebook, love texts exchanged between caring family members, and substantial celebration, it was now time to take a deep breath and just relax.

As I closed my eyes in contentment, I thought about the importance of clear communication. Had our pilot not told us we’d be waiting ten minutes before takeoff, we would have been antsy and annoyed, wondering why they boarded us if we were just going to sit on the runway – even allowing it to interfere with our sense of serenity.

But since she communicated so plainly, a fully packed plane now understood our situation and was able to relax rather than fidget and worry.

All it took was twenty simple seconds of clear communication.

I thought about how I had said good-bye to my Momma, who had chauffeured us to the airport. She got out of her car to say farewell and I embraced her with an ‘I never want to let go’ kind of hold. I whispered in her ear, “I love you so much, Momma. You are so beautiful – in every way. Thank you for sharing such a special and momentous day with us. You are cherished.

She held me back with a strength that can only come from a mother’s reassuring arms, one I understood fully as I had shared many just one day earlier with my own child. Her eyes welled with tears and she laughed at herself saying, “And now I’m going to cry.”

Skip hugged the mother he regards as his own and said, “That’s who you are, Mom. And we love who you are.

As the sleep-inducing minutes ticked by, I began to contemplate those twenty simple seconds of clear communication, reminding me of the KISS I learned in my public relations class in college: Keep It Short & Simple.

My eyes still closed, my mind came to life as I considered how powerfully words can communicate in twenty simple seconds. The KISS factor.

Twenty simple seconds can direct a mass of people to simultaneously understand a situation, let a mother know she’s impacted your life in a powerful way, and impart pride to your son for the man he has become.

What power.

Choose your words wisely and purposefully. Every 20-seconds count.




6 responses to “Why a 20-second KISS matters”

  1. Dave Covey says:

    Donna…. Skip! I am overjoyed for you both, and Grant, of course!

    Donna, your 20-second KISS reminds me of a couple of things I used to often remind my staff:

    “Never confuse the simplicity of a solution with its power!”
    It’s not how much you say, it’s WHAT you say!”

    Thanks so much for the refresher, Donna. Love you both!! Stay Verry Merry!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Dave. We are indeed beaming with pride!

      I love, “Never confuse the simplicity of a solution with its power!” Well-said! Thanks for sharing.


  2. Julie says:

    And now… I am going to cry!! Thanks for sharing!! So proud of Grant!! Love you!!

  3. Denise says:

    Great post,Donna!…I’ll stay tuned for part two about why a 20 second kiss (smooch) matters!

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