Nobody edits us in our daily business conversations. It behooves us to have a keenly developed sense of how to clearly articulate our thoughts, craft a succinct message, and most importantly, craft it in a way that lands with impact.
It all depends on the circumstances, you may say. Yes, and yet there are some basic principles that will help us be more succinct.
Avoid multiple endings when you speak. Avoid the temptation to throw more than one message into a response. Your message is always more powerful when the listener knows that you’re done. Because you stopped.
When someone asks us a question, we feel an instant pressure to answer quickly.
So we launch into an answer and make it up as we go along. Chance are, succinctness flies out the window.
Pro Tip: Take a second or two before you speak to collect your thoughts and settle on a message. Period.
When you start and keep talking trying to figure out what your message is, you are making me figure out what your message is alongside you.
If we get lucky, you get clear quickly. If not, I get lost in the fog with you. You will exhaust me.
Pro Tip: Start with clearly stating your message or point-of-view, then elaborate. It will help you to stay on point and me to "get" your point.
We want to offer more context. We want to dive into complexity and nuance. Resist.
Make your point or answer the question simply, and if the other person longs for more information, s/he will jump in with a follow-up question based on the answer you provided.
Pro Tip: 90% of all questions are easily answered with no more than 4-6 sentences.
Develop a clear sense of when you’re done. Know when you have delivered a message and STOP.
Keep it simple by reminding yourself to deliver one main message at a time when you speak, not multiple messages or mixed messages.
Pro Tip: Avoid multiple endings when you speak. Avoid the temptation to throw more than one message into a response. Your message is always more powerful when the listener knows that you’re done. Because you stopped.
Here’s where the beauty of storytelling comes in. When it comes to storytelling, you get to be un-succinct.
Know why you are telling the story, and then revel in some of the details of the story. Help us see, feel, sense and smell the place where your story takes place.
Take your time. Transport us into the experience of being in the story with you. The sensual details will do the transporting. Your succinctness will not.
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