Be Brief – Get Results

Ever been annoyed because someone is taking up too much of your time?

Perhaps the better question is, how many times TODAY, did someone spend more than their ‘allotted’ time, talking to you? I was fortunate in my career to have been able to work under a brilliant leader. Once every few months, I got to have a 30 minute one-on-one time with her. I was always excited for these meetings because really, how often do you get to have your own personal time with your leader where the focus is . . . YOU? I arrived prepared. I had my questions and the areas I needed some clarity and guidance on. As soon as I asked my first question, she launched into all the thoughts, ideas and experiences that were swirling in her head. I admit, she had a lot of knowledge and experience but here was the rub: She spent the next 30 minutes going off on tangents, so much so, that at the end of the meeting, I stood up and said: “I have no idea what I am suppose to do.”

The Unexpected Lesson . . .

I learned is that while people may have expert knowledge in many areas, if they cannot express themselves briefly and concisely, especially in the workplace, their knowledge is tuned out!

Why Aren’t People Brief?

TMI (Too much information)

  •  When you have so much knowledge, you want to share it all with others. That’s a problem because most people don’t want to hear all that detail


  • It’s a big mistake when you choose to share your knowledge before you are clear  as to what you are thinking
  • When you are unfocused as to what your point is, others will be too


  • People incorrectly believe that because you have agreed to talk to them, they can carry on . . . indefinitely. Wrong.
  • When you are insensitive to other people’s time, they will be insensitive to your issue.

  Sometimes people say phrases and you know, as the listener, that it is going to be painful. As the speaker, here are phrases you need to avoid.

3 Phrases You Need to Stop Saying

(from “Brief” by J. McCormack)

1. “And another thing . . .”

  • That means you’ve already spoken long enough and now the meeting is going to go even longer

2. “I’m just thinking out loud . . .”

  • No-one wants to witness what is occurring in your head unless you are involved in a brainstorm activity
  • It’s ok to think out loud but save it for your ensuite, not at the meeting where you are trying to make your point

3. “To make a long story even longer . . .”

  • The overwhelming detail in long stories may be interesting to you (and your family) but to others, it usually has no relevance
  • Now, if you say “To make a long story, short”, then keep it short!

What Can You Do To Be Brief?

1. Know What You Want

  • Most people get caught in a circle of speaking their thoughts and feelings then going back and repeating themselves
  • To avoid this, know what you want from the person you are speaking to: do you want them to just listen, solve a problem, or do you want their advice?
  • Similarly, if you are listening to someone who is spinning in their thoughts, just say, “What is it you want from me?” This focuses the conversation very quickly.

2. Make It A Dialogue, Not a Monologue

  • People often get defensive when others speak to them in a monologue
  • Instead, make your point then ask a question i.e. “How do you see this working?” Or “What obstacles pop up for you?”

3. Pause

  • When you are speaking, remember to pause between thoughts or ideas
  • This gives time for your audience to digest what you have just said
  • Silence is a tool that engages others

Now it’s up to you to make a bigger impact and get results, by being brief! Of course there are additional strategies required to create an engaged work environment. If you want sustainable strategies that work, then I invite you to contact me for a FREE 20 minute phone call. Click Here to Contact Me In the ‘Subject Line” write ‘Free Call’ and I will contact you. See how you can create an even better workplace.

To Your Success



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Seriously? Me, too! covers 10 Power Strategies that seriously work. It takes everyday situations that you can relate to, sprinkles in a bit of humour (you can’t be serious all the time) and demonstrates how you can achieve personal success — one simple step at a time. Learn More »


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