Communication tips – keep it brief (and why)

communication skills brief

Keeping things short is one of the most useful communication skills ever. How can we learn to cut down the waffle?

Communication is a Young Professional skill that’s a powerful mix of how you present yourself, how you influence other people, and how you share information and ideas with them. It will get you far in life… but it’s like a muscle you have to train.

This communication skills exercise can help you send work emails, sum up your good points in your CV, ace phone interviews and even help you get things fixed with your team and boss when the pressure is on!

Waffling holds us back from getting our point across

With friends it’s fine to go into long juicy details and “he said / she said”. But here are just some situations where we need to get straight to the point:

  • A 999 phone call to fire, police or ambulance
  • Phone interviews
  • Telling our manager about a work emergency

 What are the signs of waffling, or long communication?

  • Repeating yourself
  • Saying ‘um’ or ‘er’ to fill a gap
  • Getting lost in what you’re saying
  • Forgetting what you meant to say next (this could also just be due to nerves though)
  • Your audience is getting bored!

Keeping it short is a 21st century communication skill

We are blitzed with information from all angles. Research says the average attention span is now 8 seconds. Imagine that… you have 8 seconds to get your point across and create a good impression in a dating profile, cover letter or job interview!

Keep someone’s attention by making sure your communication is brief when it needs to be. You can still pack a lot of information into a few short words!

EXERCISE: keeping it brief

CHALLENGE: Pick a film you’ve watched. Now sum it up in five words or less!

With this exercise you are training yourself to skip the fluff and get straight to the point. You can get better at this with practice. You never know when you might need this skill! It could help you tell your boss about an emergency, sum up your good qualities at an interview, or even help with a creative advertising career.

Some examples:

Flatmates save world from zombies (Shaun of the Dead)

Blondes can still be lawyers (Legally Blonde)

Space monsters versus huge robots (Pacific Rim)


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