Going all the way back to the laconic Spartans, the ability to be succinct in one’s communications has been to others a sign of strength and a well-appreciated gesture. But it’s a skill that’s never been more important than it is today, when people are bombarded with information and don’t have the bandwidth to digest long and convoluted messages.
My guest today is an expert in helping people get to the point, the founder of the BRIEF Lab, and the author of Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less. His name is Joseph McCormack, and we begin our conversation with how his work grew out of his development of a communications curriculum for the military’s special operators. We then discuss how being brief is not just about conciseness but first about achieving clarity, and the high costs of not shaping our communications with these qualities — especially in a world where attention is a scarce resource. Joe explains why it’s actually harder to exercise verbal discipline than it is to use lots of words, and four techniques to make your messaging clear and concise. We then discuss how to apply these techniques to shortening meetings, condensing emails, and distilling how you describe your role when people ask what you do. We end our conversation with how to create more meaningful interactions during fluid conversations by actually preparing for these encounters, rather than simply trying to wing it.
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- What are the costs of not being brief in your communication?
- Why concise messaging is so important in our modern world
- The illusion of “now”
- Why is it hard to be concise?
- What does it mean to map your communications?
- How to prioritize the information you’re passing along
- Why stories work so much better than rote information delivery
- Why you need to use the TRACs framework
- Using visuals as a boon and not a detriment
- Making meetings better
- Sending better emails
- How saying less makes good news more impactful, and bad news less disruptive
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- Noise by Joe McCormack
- How to Manage Inbox Overload and Actually Get Stuff Done
- Why People Do (or Don’t) Listen to You
- Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Outsourced Expertise
- How to Tell Better Stories
- 3 Simple Steps for Telling a Great Story
- AoM series on listening and craft good questions/responses
- One Mistake Never to Make When Leading a Meeting
- How to Run a Meeting
Connect With Joe
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