Fewer Words, More Meaning
Humans have been focused on keeping it short for a long time. In 1603 (give or take) Shakespeare told us “Brevity is the soul of wit.” In 1700, Blaise Pascal offered this apology (often attributed to Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain) for his verbosity: “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”
At its core, conciseness requires you to distill the essence of your idea. We live in an era of attention scarcity; your audience is busy and most likely distracted. This is especially true for the most senior people you need to communicate with. When you have two minutes of their mind-share, you better make it count.
Like any other communication skill, you can’t fix this with a negative mental instruction—”Don’t ramble!”—you need a positive behavior and a physical pathway to learning. Use the Lego drill below (or this Post-it Note version) to build the skill.
You can also use our free practice app, Question Roulette, to see see just how brief and brilliant you can be: it will measure the length of your answers to various questions. Combine one of the drills with the app to get real-time, objective feedback on how you’re doing.