THIS & THAT

Brevity key to effective communication
We frequently find ourselves in the company of people who not only talk for too long, but also insist on repeating every point ad nauseum. The same goes for their written output too. Well, most of us are guilty to this vice and tend to go on and on. Chances are that you are already shaking your head in an instant negation; arguments of denial must have already sprung to your lips. And if that isn’t proof enough, just imagine having to sit through your own long-winded discourse or having to read your own copious reports and you will have your answer.We cannot help but marvel at the sheer volume of endless blubber all around us. Everyone is talking, rambling discussions, prolonged meetings and elaborate presentations that are still missing the point, it can be said for prodigious memos, emails, reviews and blogs. The problem lies in the fact that most people think that the number of words used better conveys a message. What they conveniently overlook is that content is what really matters. In fact, good content often gets lost in effusive repetitions delivered at breakneck speed, hindering both decision-making and action. So, brevity is the key to effective communication – both verbal and written. Plain and concise dialogue can be clearly heard/read and understood. Observing economy of words with a specific and goal-oriented approach not only saves time (which is of precious value in any organisation) but also leads to clearer views, wise decisions and immediate end-results. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do!”

How to qualify your use
Before speaking or writing anything, assess the needs of your audience and the extent to which they are acquainted with the subject. Think over what you want to write/say and try to paraphrase yourself immediately. There is no need for a long-winded repetition; people will get the message on the first hearing/reading especially if they are familiar with the topic. Communication experts exhort the adoption of a minimalist style by combing for unnecessary words, phrases or sentences that can be reworded, restructured or even omitted entirely. Tightening yourself will ensure that the focus is on the significant points, making your argument clearer and more compelling than a complicated rambling.Do not write or say the same things again. Avoid flowery phrases or analogies in favour of a direct approach. Steer clear of vague expressions that actually hint at your nervousness or uncertainty. In short, speak to express, not to impress! But, do ensure that you do not sacrifice content at the altar of brevity. Simply present the points or questions on hand and try to get opinions and answers. Never should you ignore what others have to say in the rush to present your piece. Make note of people’s views and objections as only when you are a good listener who pays heed to others’ words, will you win respect and attention for yours. Once you start making concerted efforts to qualify yourself with economy of words at all times – be it corporate gatherings, one-on-one or on paper, conciseness will start coming to you spontaneously!

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