Unfortunately, Dane missed out on a job offer this week after what he thought was a pretty good phone interview. Said the manager, “Overall good background, mostly relevant to what we are seeking.” So far, so good. His background made him right for the job; that wasn’t the obstacle.
The manager continued, “Miss: communication; not clear and concise. Hard to get to the point in his answers.”
While this feedback is hard to hear, it is also good news, because communication can be practiced and improved. The trend in business is succinct communications, 140 characters or less. Succinctness is a characteristic of speech, writing, or other communication which exhibits both clarity and brevity.
Every conversation offers opportunity to practice succinctness. Listen to the question asked. Pause to think about the question; repeat it verbatim aloud. Then proceed to answer the question or share a comment. Apps such as Twitter are a great learning tool, improving clarity and brevity by forcing a person to bring thoughts into narrow focus. It isn’t as interesting as story-telling, but in the world of business it seems to be the way things are moving.
In the spirit of succinctness, here’s an example of something remarkably ordinary that happened recently. One could make a novel out of this, beginning with, “It was a dark and stormy night…” However, to practice succinct communication, the story goes: “The ringing doorbell surprised us, but when the man holding a shovel at the door asked for $20, I took one look at the snow falling behind him and said, You’ve got a deal!”
It’s longer than a tweet, but not by much. And if you get the picture, that’s what matters, right?