Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Speaking Concisely—Rather, How to Compel the Long-winded or the Verbose to Communicate Concisely

Once in a while, somebody who is often required to chair meetings will confide in me that one of his/ her biggest obstacles when trying to run a meeting efficiently (and thus stay within the allotted time) is having one or more participants who talk on and on—people who are so verbose or long-winded that, for instance, they will take several sentences to respond to a simple question that can easily be answered in a single, short sentence.

While there are several ways to rein in someone who has a proclivity to ramble or perorate at every opportunity, here is a simple technique to force a relatively quick response to a question: Look at your watch—as if to imply that you are running out of time--and simultaneously preface your question with something like, ‘Pat, in one sentence, what would you say is the main reason for.....?’” You could go a step further and, instead of “in one sentence…,” you could say, with a smile, “in half a sentence…”

Call me at 281-463-2500 or email me if you have successfully tried some other techniques to help engender concise communication in your workplace.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

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