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)


Boost your Young Professional skills…

Are You Aged 14-24?
Get FREE Young Professional Training
Are You An Employer?
Get youth employment expert help

For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

Looking for Youth Friendly Employers?

Find out more about some of the organisations offering high quality training and work opportunities to young people. Your next dream role could be just a click away…

Are you getting your free training in the 5 top Young Professional skills?

Problem Solving
Self Belief
Self Management

Sign up for free Young Professional training.

  • Life hacks and pep talks in a weekly newsletter
  • Opportunities from youth-friendly employers and organisations
  • Grow the 5 top life and work skills at your own pace
Registration Options
Please fill in your details
password strength indicator
Additional Info


Are you a real person? If so, click the box
Do you want the weekly newsletter?
IMPORTANT: When you click ‘sign me up’, you’ll be asked to log in using your new username and password. Then you’ll be taken straight to your Young Professional dashboard with lots of info and things to do. You can find this dashboard at any time when you click the orange ‘My Dashboard’ button at the top of the site page and log in!

Latest articles

Go to Dashboard
skills positivity be the buzz

5 quick ways to keep a positive attitude at work

Having a positive attitude at work makes everything better. From learning new skills to soaking up useful feedback, these five […]

productive boredom at work

The secret to productive boredom at work or study

Adaptability means coping with change (new ideas, people or tasks) – even if you find them boring. This 5-minute Young […]

ask for help at work

How to ask for help with problems at work without looking weak

Asking for help at work is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows you want to get things done. […]

attention to detail

Before you push send: Tips for improving your attention to detail

Written communication skills matter in the digital age. These tips will help you send mistake-free emails, reports and job applications. […]