The Art of Being Concise

Growing up Catholic, you could count on a priest's sermons to be fifteen minutes in length. Always. They were given fifteen minutes of the mass to preach and they would take the whole fifteen minutes to deliver their message, whether they needed it or not. Often, this meant adding additional words and thoughts, sometimes confusing the message.

During the summer months, we attended a small, country church with a priest who didn't believe in this rule. Mass was over in a half hour instead of an hour, and his sermon's were short, and to the point. In other words, they were concise. The best part? He always, always, left you with something poignant to think about.

Have you ever had someone ask you if you were ever going to get to the point? Or have you ever listened to a person who rambled on and on? We appreciate concisely written communication, so why not concise verbal communication also? Here are three ways to improve your verbal communication to concisely deliver a message.

Think Before You Speak

Jot down some notes, play out the conversation in your head beforehand and you, and think through what you want to say. Planning will help deliver a strong message. Write down the important points you want to make and if necessary, have it with you. How often have you ended a conversation and realized you forgot to say something important? Additionally, you'll be in command of the conversation instead of faltering around for the right words.

State Your Main Idea Early On

When you state your main idea early on, you garner their attention quickly and the listener knows what to focus on. If they can't identify what topic you are talking about, the brain has difficultly sorting through the conversation, and may miss important pieces of information.The listener may be heading down one path and will have to backtrack to catch up. Their mind isn't focused on listening when it is trying to remember what you said previously.

Keep it Simple

Even a good story can go on too long, entangling details and confusing listeners. Keep your message simple and to the point so that the other person has a chance to really hear what you are saying. The brain likes to associate with past knowledge, and a lengthy conversation allows time for the receiver's brain to link to something that happened to them in the past, changing the focus of what they are thinking about (which should be your message.)

Give these three tips a try the next time you deliver an important message to someone. Both of you will appreciate the results.

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