How many times have you heard the words “to make a long story short” only to have that followed by the very drawn out and detailed account? In the age of the 140 character communication, the ability to be both brief and accurate is a vital skill. Joseph McCormack’s book, Brief: Making a Bigger Impact by Saying Less, points to research that his team conducted which found that the average executive receives 304 actionable emails a week. If you are like us here at Point Taken, even that seems like a light week!

But how can we build relationships and get our details across when attention spans have gotten so short?

Here’s a few suggestions for more effective brief communication:

  • Tell them what and why first. Think of a pyramid, with the point right up front at the start. Getting right down to business lets them know exactly is needed upfront.
  • Write down your key elements, then edit them. Identify from that list what’s really important versus just supporting details. Delete the irrelevant to focus on the key issues.
  • Follow up. If communicating via email, consider that your message may have been lost in the sea of communication. Reaching back out gives you the opportunity to clarify your details again and readjust you key points if needed.

To make our long story short, concise communication take preparation. In an age where our communication burden is growing, the ability to cut through the clutter and get to the point is invaluable – not just to you, but to your audience.