Less is more when it comes to building a successful career, especially concerning communications, says Joseph McCormack, author of Brief: Make a Bigger Impact By Saying Less.
Professionals receive more than 300 emails a week, check their smartphones 150 times and consume more than 34 gigabytes of data a day. Attention spans have dropped from about 12 seconds a decade ago to 8 seconds now, so brevity is what could save your career.
Here’s what McCormack suggests to become a more straightforward communicator.
- Make a map. Seeing your main idea in the center of a blank page with your supporting points surrounding it can help you identify what is and isn’t important in a brief explanation before you engage other people in conversation.
- Apply the 5 W’s. People will pay attention if you stick to telling who, what, when, where and why as you tell a concise narrative.
- Give the other person the floor. Practice being an active listener instead of monopolizing the conversation. Your conversation partner should be allowed to process, participate and respond while you’re talking to each other.
- Use visuals when you can. A reported 70% of people are visual learners, which means you should take the opportunity to sketch an idea or make someone a video to further make your point when possible.
— Adapted from “Brevity Just Might Save Your Career,” Kathy Caprino, Forbes.