Learn to say, ‘Here’s what’s important’

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

What does your boss really want? Simple answers.

When a senior executive asks a question, or sits through a presentation, what he really wants is for people to “be concise, get to the point, make it simple,” writes Adam Bryant in a New York Times article, “Distilling the Wisdom of C.E.O’s,” adapted from his book, The Corner Office.

Simplicity is hard, and few people can deliver it, Bryant says.

“Instead, they mistakenly assume that the boss will be impressed by a long PowerPoint presentation that shows how diligently they researched a topic, or that they will win over their superiors by talking more, not less.”

In the Internet era, though, information isn’t hard to come by. What’s difficult is synthesizing and connecting dots in new ways, writes Bryant.

Can you identify your core point, or give a 10-word summary of your idea? Get in the habit of boiling down information for your boss by beginning with the phrase, “Here’s what’s important ...” or “The bottom line is ...”

The boss will appreciate a simple answer.

— Adapted from “The Info I Need: No Less and, Please, No More,” MIT Sloan Management Review.

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