Date: April 9, 2014

Author: JT

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Comments Off on What I’ve Read Lately: Brief

What I’ve Read Lately: Brief

brief_jtpedersen_book review_Joseph McCormack_cover“Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less”

Author: Joseph McCormack
ISBN: 978-1-118-70496-7

Less is more. Never has that been more true than in today’s world. The rate of change, demands for collaboration, social media’s ambient noise, all lay claims on our time. And, we haven’t even mentioned our family, friends, and folks in our ‘physical’ lives.

As a result, our attention spans seems to be ever-shorter. It’s a challenge, taking real effort at times to stay focused, to stay on-task.  There are days I wonder whether I’m a grown adult suffering from an attention deficit disorder. With more of us expected to ‘collaborate’ at work, to perform in ‘matrixed’ environments, attention spans are under severe pressure.

I found Brief to be incredibly refreshing: a to-the-point, succinct book, that should be required reading in today’s world.

Brief is about brevity, making an impact by saying less, but it’s not about being ‘short.’ This is an important distinction. A lot of folks think that to be brief, to practice brevity, means to simply cut their conversations short. Instead of artificially clipping your communications, work to get your message across as efficiently as possible. No more. No less.

McCormack delivers many constructive examples in the form of mini case studies. They illustrate the behavior, the challenge, the corrective action, and likely outcome. The approach works well, in line with a quote from John Telford, “There are a lot of experts who can throw information at you, but the trick is getting somebody who isn’t familiar with the concept to understand the essence.”

One of the best lessons put forward is the need to prepare. Many people lack confidence, blather needlessly, simply because they were unprepared. On reflection, I have to admit I have fallen into this trap myself in the past.

Many people lack confidence, blather needlessly, simply because they were unprepared.

Before each engagement, take the time (moments or minutes) to prepare yourself. If you’re meeting with your boss, take the time to think through what he or she needs. Don’t just verbally vomit on them. Outline your key points. You’ll feel more confident, have less need to talk (to throw things at the wall to see what sticks). Your boss will appreciate your preparedness and saving them time.

One of the best reminders is to use outlines. In about 8th grade they introduce you to using outlines in English class. Outlines form the skeleton that gives shape to the rest of your work. Just because you are an ‘adult’ in the ‘work place’ now doesn’t mean they won’t work well for you here, too.  Try it. Big issue bullets, a couple supporting sub-bullets. Whether you take your outline with you or not, simply having gone through the effort will help.

For today’s world, I highly recommend reading Brief.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher in hopes of my doing a review. No monetary interests exist.

Image credit:
Gas horn – Peter Suneson

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