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May 28, 2015

Above All, Be Brief

Hal photo outside Feb2012“When you wish to instruct, be brief; then men’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.” (Cicero)

There is one cardinal rule for public speaking: leave ’em wanting more. This may frustrate a few people, but it is far better to deal with a few participants’ lingering complaints than a whole audience’s longing for an exit.

Part of the need for this rule is due to our ever-shrinking attention spans; we don’t want to lose people to the ever-increasing distractions all around us. More importantly, however, we leave them this way because want to establish a lasting relationship with people, where they continue to seek us out for wisdom in the future.

The same could not be more true in our parenting, or any leadership role. In the few moments you actually have someone’s full attention, remember that less is more. Don’t drag on before you make your point. Don’t besiege your listener with unnecessary evidence. Don’t beat your point into a dead horse. Don’t… (get the picture?)

Above all, be brief. You might actually leave your child, or employee, wanting more from you.


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