Get to the point!
"Get to the point.""Let's wrap it up..."
Are these requests ever made to you by bosses or co-workers? Or, does the look in their eyes, face and body language say it all?
In a survey given to upper level executives regarding communication skills, the quality they valued most highly in employees was the ability to be concise.
This skill is equally important if you work with clients or customers, since it shows professionalism, discipline, and consideration for their time.
If you struggle with this very important skill, here is what I do with my clients that I recommend you do. Record yourself and automatically transcribe (if possible) as you:
-Role play/speak out loud an answer to a question a client may have about your services. OR
-Practice what you plan to say at the next morning meeting. OR
-Practice speaking on a common theme (or several) related to your role. OR
-Talk about what you do in your role what and your responsibilities are. This is also just a great clarifying activity for you, because we can sometimes lose sight of these basics! Also, you might find yourself viewing your role in a different or broader perspective. In addition, your role and responsibilities may continually change.
Pause a few moments after you've made your recording, or preferably a few minutes, before looking at/listening to your responses. Those few moments make it easier for you to clearly hear what you said and to edit and pare down your message.
If you listen back and hear yourself repeating words or phrases, circumlocuting, or grappling to find your thoughts, time to edit, my friend. With my clients, we can typically cut six sentences down to three.
You may not have time to do this all the time, but just doing it SOME of the time, say 1-2 times per week, will make a big difference. It's a muscle that strengthens with practice, and that work you do will carry over into other interactions.
Sound like an extra effort? It is! But, as my father used to say, "That's why they call it work." ;) But-We all enjoy our jobs more when we're good at them!
Can you think of any other strategies for being more concise?
What other communication challenges do you find yourself or others having at work? Let me know, because I'll talk about them here!
Don't be a stranger ;)