Recently at the 2013 Emmys while accepting her award star Merritt Wever left the crowd speechless when she quickly wrapped up her speech in just a few seconds. She said “Oh my God, thanks so much! Thank you so much. Um, I gotta go. Bye!” It was hilarious and received a round of laughter and applause. The shortest, best received speech ever and talk about being memorable for all the right reasons.
We can definitely take a leaf out of her book. So here are some quick tips on applying brevity in your work life.
When you are requesting a meeting with someone, request a 30 minute or even a 15 minute meeting. Few people can refuse a 15 minute request and if you can’t say what you have to say in 30 minutes, you need to do some more work before you waste anyone else’s time! (Tough love)
When scheduling meetings with larger groups of people, buck convention and instead of booking a meeting for a hour, book it for 45 minutes. People can use the remaining 15 minutes to prepare, read the agenda on their own.
When you are asked to present for an hour, don’t feel you have to speak for the entire 60 minutes and then some! Always plan to finish early even the 45 / 50 minute mark and this will ensure you are a hit with your audience. Leave them wanting more, instead of wanting to see the last of you.
No one reads long emails! Either write a short email and put all the detail in an attachment or pick up the phone and have the conversation.
Finally this tip is from Sir Richard Branson. If you were to put what you were saying on a ‘Coat of arms’ what would it be? It would have to be simple and short to fit across the bottom of a coat of arms. Virgin’s motto for example on a coat of arms would be ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’.
George Bernard Shaw famously said ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’. Paraphrasing for a time starved world ‘Brevity is the soul of successful communication’.
Dry facts and data fade from memory over time, but an engaging story is difficult to forget. In Hooked, communication and business storytelling experts Gabrielle Dolan and Yamini Naidu use real-world examples and proven, effective techniques to teach the skill of great business storytelling. They explain what good storytelling is, why business leaders need to learn it, how to create effective stories, and how to practice for perfection.