Thursday, 27 April 2017

Conciseness - How Effective A Communicator Are You?

"Wow. I'm really looking forward to that long speech/presentation/report!"

Said no one.


No one is going to complain that your speech, presentation, email or any kind of communication is short, if it's concise i.e. if it's brief but comprehensive, or short but complete.

We often hide behind verbosity to convey intelligence or to appear knowledgeable. We've all been guilty of using rambling, flowery language in attempts to inform, refute, or persuade but have we been effective in those circumstances?

No, we haven't.

This is because in order to be brief, we must understand the subject matter to be able to explain it to a six-year-old; otherwise, as Albert Einstein once suggested, we don't understand the concept ourselves.

Conciseness is one of the three beacons of effective communication, (the other two being simplicity and clarity) that I highlighted in a previous article as being necessary for getting the results you seek. It is also very difficult to get right.

Most professionals whom I coach recognise the need for brevity in business communication, even though many struggle with it. Nevertheless, conciseness can be achieved by consistently doing two things:

1) By understanding your subject matter

You can't write anything meaningful until you truly understand your topic. This point might sound obvious but is often overlooked. You can get away with 'having an idea' of what you want to communicate. You have to know.

So research your topic; find out details of the project; and be clear about the goal of the communication. Once you understand the purpose for that speech, official statement or report, you can proceed to the next (obvious) step:

Write out the 'bones' of the communication in the simplest sentence(s) you can manage. 

For example:

a) We recorded poor figures for our financial performance in the company in the last two quarters. 

b) We need to write a report to list the causes for the poor results. We also need to give solutions that will lead to profitability for the rest of the year.

From the above, it is clear that the communication required must address two points:

I)  The causes for the dismal figures.

II) The solutions to be implemented to ensure that surpluses are recorded in subsequent quarters. 

Next, either expand or tighten your 'bones' as required: 

This report will highlight the reasons for the deficits recorded in the company from September 1, 2016 to April 2, 2017. It will also recommend actions to be implemented to attain consistent profitability.

And that will be rationale for, or introduction to the report. Two sentences totalling 33 words, instead of a paragraph or two of fluff.

Conciseness is invaluable in our daily business activities because of short attention spans and different activities competing for our time.  When considered with simplicity and clarityconciseness gives us the credibility we seek.

As a bonus, note that you're more likely to influence people when you know your onions.

2) By editing ruthlessly

In my coaching sessions, I often give participants class exercises. One useful test is a paragraph of five lines, rife with clutter, which participants are told to "edit ruthlessly". They are required to eliminate needless words/phrases to tighten the piece. Sessions quickly become interesting when different versions of the content emerge and the meanings are changed.

Some caution: don't go overboard with editing that you change the original meaning of your piece. I recommend audibly reading first to quickly detect grammatical errors before proceeding to editing your content.

To make your writing brief but complete, you'd need to become brutal with your editing. The famous phrase “kill all your darlings”—attributed to the late American author and Nobel Prize laureate in literature, William Faulkner—commands that you eliminate clutter, creative or otherwise, which makes your writing wordy or ambiguous. In particular, you should annihilate those terms you love and consider creative gold. This is tough but will be worth it when your writing becomes succinct.

Recently, I came to appreciate the effect of concise messaging. I had taken my children for some ice cream at the Ice Cream Factory at the Circle Mall in Lekki, Lagos. Whilst they enjoyed their treat, I was drawn to a series of short, punchy statements about ice cream stencilled onto the wallpaper, and got an 'aha' moment. They were all true. No gimmicks, no big words, just statements about how we feel about ice cream.

Case in point:

Now the company could have written longer, factual sentences about the cold dessert that might impress some. They may have even coined a slogan that you might remember. However, the beauty of their message would be lost.

Less is infinitely better.

Brands, take note - those short sentences teach a practical lesson in how to use emotive messaging to connect with your customers.

And yes, I will be returning to the Ice Cream Factory, not only because of their delicious ice cream and other mouth-watering selections but also because of the cosy ambience and concise messaging.


Not everyone is blessed with superb communication skills. Until science proves otherwise, the propensity to become dynamic communicators isn’t wired into our DNA.

And that's fine.

Most of us who are desirous of improving or honing our communication skills must therefore practise consistently.

In general, striving for conciseness makes us effective and memorable professionals. Thus, people will thank us when our addresses are short but sweet; they will support us when our reports are brief but comprehensive; and they would act swiftly when our emails include one-liners that hit the spot.

Dare to be different.

So how effective a communicator are you? What has worked for you and what hasn't?

Kindly share your experiences below.

P.S - I've added a new page to this blog: Clients. It can be accessed from the homepage. Kindly take a look. Remember that I provide customised communications coaching for individuals, groups and companies. Contact me for details if you need help.

If you enjoyed this post don't rush off just yet. Please remember to:

Ø  Share this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons at the top or below.

Ø  Sign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles!

Need help with improving your communication skills?

Hire me for:

v  Communication training sessions for  your staff and executives;

v Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc.);

v   Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events.

Let me help you get results.

Contact me:

A) Send an email to:

B) Call for a free consultation: 

Nigeria:             0704 631 0592
International:   +234 704 631 0592  


N.B:  First image is courtesy of Sira Anamwong; via Second image is courtesy of Alesanko R.; via Third image is courtesy of Keerati; via Fourth image is courtesy of the Ice Cream Factory, Lagos. Last image is courtesy of Iosphere; via

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Five Years Of Insightful Blogging...In Memorable Quotes (PART 2)

Let’s continue…Welcome back to the two-part series celebrating this blog's fifth anniversary.  


7) “Value is addictive: the more you get, the more you want”. 


Addressing The Allure Of Value In The Organisation.


October 2016. 



Value is increasingly demanded in the organisation. Learn why both the employer and employee must always strive to provide value for a more productive workplace.

8) "Emotive storytelling...'ropes' us in and makes us care about all aspects of the brands".


Emotive Storytelling – The Brand’s Superpower.


November  2016. 



Coke or Pepsi? There’s a reason you have a favourite advert. The article reveals why the highlighted videos hit the mark. It also explains how brands could use emotive storytelling to boost revenue and retain loyal customers.

9) Don't be fooled any longer…discipline trumps motivation”.


Forward Ever, Backward Never…


December 2016. 



As the curtain closed on 2016, the editor of the Communications Blog shared her highlights for the year and explained why her new mantra was forward ever, backwards never.

10) You know them when you see them. The people who have good character speak convincingly from a place of truth”.


Good Character At Work – How Do You Measure Up?


January  2017.



People of good character can teach us some lessons about being decent human beings who excel professionally. Allow yourself to be inspired by their admirable traits.

11) The quest to being remarkable should begin with the awareness that differentiation is necessary for career advancement”.


Career Advancement: Be The ‘Purple Cow’. 


February 2017. 



Learn how insights from Seth Godin’s bestselling book, ‘Purple Cow’, could help us  advance our careers by using practical tips. Loaded with useful links and information, this is a must-read article for all professionals. 



And that’s a wrap! 

Which quote resonated the most with you? Will you recommend this blog to your business networks?  (We hope you do!) 

Please post your opinions/suggestions below and come back soon for more articles!

  If you enjoyed this post, don't rush off just yet. Please remember to: 

- Share this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons at the top or below.

- Sign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles!

 Recommended reading 

 Five Years Of Insightful Blogging...In Memorable Quotes (PART 1

Need help with your communication skills?

  Hire me for: 

- Communications training sessions for your executives;

- Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc.);

- Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events.

  Let me help you get results. Contact me:

  A) Send an email to:

  B) Call for a free consultation:

  Nigeria:             0704 631 0592

   International:   +234 704 631 0592


 N.B: First image courtesy of the internet. Second and fifth images courtesy of Stuart Miles; via Third image courtesy of Sumetho; via Fourth image courtesy of Master Isolated Images; via