Have you ever been in that position – where you are giving a presentation / writing a report or even debating with a friend about something, and you feel compelled to talk at length, in an attempt to prove credibility or how much research we have done. While that seems like an effective strategy at the time, being verbose is not necessarily the best strategy of portraying information. In this increasingly distracted world, people just won’t take the time to listen for very long to what you have to say, so it’s important to get your message across succinctly and efficiently. The problem with that is that when there is too much to listen to, people tune out and don’t end up grasping any of it. A much better way would be to be brief and only portray points that are relevant, completely.
“Being brief is an essential 21st-century skill,” said McCormack, author of Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less “People are buried with information, and the average attention span is now eight seconds. You can’t hold anyone’s attention if you’re not brief.”
Being brief has its merits that add to the ability to influence. Aim aim to be brief in your conversations, to make our speech easier to retain for the listener.
Ask yourself – Do I need to be briefer? Then ask yourself again, Has anyone ever told you to get to the point sooner? Has anyone said you have too much analysis and not enough confusion? Have you been called unfocused of even scattered?
Then let’s see why. It is likely that the reason for this is that you are just trying to prove your credibility, showing your research to make it seem like you are right.
Well, unfortunately, this is not the best way to go about it and actually results in people questioning your credibility not accepting it. Here is a better way to go about it:
- Find the lead of the story. How do you want to change about your listener’s thought, and start with that. The best way to be brief is to state your point up front and then add detail as necessary.
- Meet the audience where they are, tailor your words to their understanding. Being brief also helps you to stop talking and start listening to what the listener is saying, allowing you to better address the conversation from their end.
- End with action steps – make sure the listener knows what they need to do, make it concrete and specific.
Joe McCormack came up with the BRIEF model, that goes as follows. First, one must get a clear understanding of the topic at hand. Then, you move to the following:
BACKGROUND: Provide information of the topic that precedes it
RELEVANCE: Make sure your statements are of relevance to the audience
INFORMATION: Include more points of information to supplement the topic
ENDING: End on an action point
FOLLOW-UP: Outline what needs to happen next
Thus, using this framework and the tips, we can be brief in our conversation and ensure that we are being the most effective version of ourselves.