Use the pyramid principle
Today it’s time for the second C: Concise
1) The best way to make your communication concise is to start with your main point.
Add details, supporting arguments and the steps you took to come up with your main point only as much as necessary to inform or influence.
One way to think about it is as the pyramid principle:
- main point at the top
- supporting information below
Americans have a related saying: “don’t sell past the close”.
If the customer is ready to buy – close the sale – if you continue talking, all you’re doing is risk losing them.
2) The other thing you should do is to delete stuff that does not contribute to the purpose of the communication.
It might seem that adding arguments or information will increase effectiveness, but I’d bet that you are severely overestimating people’s available mental bandwidth.
Even if you’re dealing with highly intelligent people – it’s very likely they have a lot on their plate – and if you dump a bunch of information that is not immediately relevant to them they will likely lose interest in whatever it is you’re trying to tell them.
When you type up your next draft message (incl. notes for a presentation or meeting):
- reorder stuff to put the main point first
- remove stuff that does not contribute enough
See you soon!
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