For many years, I considered executive summaries and/or abstracts as analogous to most effective executive interactions. “Be bright. Be brief. Be gone.” one of my former leaders used to say. That was a great lesson.
Recently as part of a consulting engagement, I was gathering peer feedback on a CEO. One of his colleagues commented, “He typically uses 300 words to state what could be covered in 50.” Obviously, this was not an accolade, but an identified area of improvement. Although I am generalizing somewhat, it is important to develop the ability to concisely communicate an issue, a recommendation, or an idea. As with all attributes of executive presence, the earlier in your career you do develop this skill, the better.
Executives are bombarded with information. The skillful ones quickly assess and formulate a plan or decision. On a daily basis, like panning for gold, they extract what issues require their attention, what meetings they will attend, what problems carry the greatest risk, what action they must personally take, and what can be delegated to another.
The ability to briefly and effectively communicate will benefit you in all professional interactions. People will pay more attention to what you have to say when you are brief. Your words will carry more weight. Your audience, whether one person or several people, is more likely to retain your message and is more likely to understand your key points if you are brief. This will heighten your influence when communicating.
Excerpted from Feet to the Fire: How to Exemplify and Create the Accountability that Creates Great Companies. For more on how to lead with a model of personal accountability, pick up a copy today on Amazon!
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© 2018 Lorraine A. Moore. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.