Short and Sweet

When my client had finished her short, factual and on-point explanation to the Board, the Chair said “Oh, gosh – is that all Jane?”.  Let’s call her Jane.

Normally, Jane would have told the Board the background (it’s in the Board papers) and explained the story (they knew it) before getting to the point of her needing to say what it was (whilst being nervous and saying too much with filler words “You know” and “errr”).


Well, there is a secret to Jane’s approach.  And it’s one she really likes now she’s test-driven it.

We worked privately with me on her being more comfortable sharing information in updates and particularly at Board meetings where time and attention span is short.

When you want to be brief and get to the point, you don’t have to be aggressive or too pointed.  You just need to take a little time to consider “what do they need to hear from me?”.

If you start there (rather than the approach of loading up too much information and background) you’ll naturally be briefer, be able to clearly state what you want or what you want them to focus on AND you come across as far more in control of your approach.

So many people just ramble on, speak too long (without saying what they really need to say) and lose their audience’s attention – be it an audience of just one or many.

Giving people what they need (not what you think you need to say) is a magic way to present information.

It takes a little more time to be briefer, ironically!  You have to think differently and your brevity gives more weight to your point.

They can always ask you questions but at least they know what you’re talking about…

Jane was SO pleased with this approach.  She said she overcame her temptation to bring more and more detail and was quietly shocked 😲 when her short and sweet explanation and ‘ask’ was agreed.

A final word on the matter…


Attributed to the French Mathematician, Blaise Pascal this brilliant quote about brevity”

 “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”

Here is one possible modern day translation of Pascal’s statement. Note that the term “this” refers to the letter itself.

“I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

We can take from this that it takes time to be brief and it’s time well invested!

 And in other news…


This week I attended a very moving AND inspiring presentation by the charity I support Tender.  

Tender works with school children all the way up to workplaces promoting healthy relationships and understanding when behaviour is harmful and thus plays their part in preventing domestic abuse and sexual violence.

I’m here with a fellow Corporate Advisory Board member.

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