Sociological research data show that in the last decade the average attention p has decreased from 12 seconds to 8. Elvira Gavrilova, a famous business lady, owner of the international advertising company Amillidius, chief editor of Financoff magazine, and business consultant explains in detail how in the shortest possible time state the essence of your thought so that your information takes root in the audience’s minds.
“Brevity is the soul of wit. But that is not all. You need to speak briefly and to the point, then you will be heard,” Elvira Gavrilova explains.
First, I want you to think:
- Since 2000, the duration of our attention on one task has decreased by 4 seconds (from 12 to 8), and it’s much!
- Every day, an average office worker receives about 120 letters and messages.
- Each time a person is distracted, it takes about 23 minutes to regain concentration and return to the original task.
In our age of technology and an overabundance of information, it is not surprising that managerial skills fade into the background, giving way to communication skills. Indeed, 86% of the interviewed office workers explain the incorrect or untimely solution of the tasks set by the lack of high-quality communication.
By “smearing” the essence of the task, you lose the attention of your employees (remember, 8 seconds!), and they, in turn, lose patience and then get lost in guesses about the implementation of the task.
The leader’s vague and unclear instructions can diminish his credibility in the eyes of employees and deprive the manager of the trust in his team.
Every leader and top should be able to speak briefly and to the point. But, unfortunately, it is with these skills that most receptive achievers often have difficulty.
Let’s look at several reasons why achievers have difficulty conveying their thoughts in brief:
Fear and uncertainty make speech oversaturated.
It may seem to you that the more you explain the essence of the problem, abundantly “smearing” the meaning with a thick layer of epithets, the better you will be understood. Not! Thus, you lose the attention of the audience. Besides, unnecessary explanations indicate your fear of speaking and show you are not confident in your judgment.
Don’t think that your listener is the same as you.
As the leader of a large workforce, I have to process colossal amounts of data every day. However, there are no more than 20% of such people in the world! To separate the essence from the general flow and make the right decisions is the main task of a leader. But don’t think that your tops are ready to act like you. Many of them will prefer laconic directions to essentially tedious monologues.
Down with pretense.
It’s not the first time I hear from my clients that “you have to include seriousness/charisma/status” to be heard. People around you will certainly feel your pretense. You will not only seem insincere in the audience’s eyes, but you will also be exhausted trying to match the invented image. Try to speak so that your style and demeanor don’t contradict your image and habits.
So, here we come to the essence of this article. Now I will tell you about 7 life hacks that will allow you to express yourself more clearly and effectively:
Prepare in advance
You won’t be able to convey the message concisely if you don’t prepare in advance. Before any public appearance, whether it’s a press conference, briefing, or scheduled meeting with employees, take the time to spend 15 minutes studying the agenda, documents, reports. Think over your speech and write down the main points you want to speak about.
Also, always be prepared for objections and clarifying questions. Write down a list of “frequently asked questions” in advance in case there is an awkward pause after the performance.
If your topic is broad enough, take the trouble to prepare handouts with key messages in advance. These can be brochures, flyers, reports, slides, or detailed graphic visualizations.
Reduce the essence of your speech to one sentence
If you were forced to boil down your main idea to one sentence, what would it be? When inviting people to your presentation, use this phrase in your email newsletter, and be sure to voice it during your talk. It will reinforce the essence of your message and completely capture the public’s attention.
Use the PREP structure
The PREP structure is your indispensable assistant if you need to improvise. Here’s how it works: briefly state your point, justify its reason, provide evidence, and conclude by repeating your point. For example:
- Point: “I believe this method will work better than the previous ones.”
- Reason: “Increased audience engagement confirms the effectiveness of this method.”
- Evidence: “This method has been used successfully by Google and Amazon.”
- Point: “Therefore, I believe that we must definitely take this method into service.”
Use bridge and marker phrases
Marking and building bridges are two successful PR tactics used by professional coaches and public speakers. Putting a marker in a speech is to put emphasis on what was said and draw the attention of the audience to this very important point. The bridge, in turn, helps you move from one idea to another. Bridging phrases are perfect for moving from one topic to another (to demonstrate the causal link of the speech clearly).
- So, to summarize…
- The fact is that…
- And most importantly, what we come to is…
- I don’t know about ____ but I can say for sure that…
- In view of the way things are going with ____, it is also important to remember that…
- Before we move on to the next topic, I would like to add…
Study your audience
Without knowing who you will have to speak to, you will not be able to think through the concept of your speech correctly. You need to understand who these people are, what problems they have, what can you offer them/hook them on to solve these problems, what do they get when they listen to you? How can these things you share with them help them save time, or make their work easier? Form your speech considering how it affects your audience.
I am often asked the question: “Elvira Gavrilova, how do you manage to keep the audience and get feedback?” Before you can learn to speak briefly, you first need to learn to listen. In particular, ask many open-ended questions like these:
- How do you feel about the topic of our discussion today?
- Which of the presented solutions, in your opinion, would be best?
- Which method seems more effective to you?
- What would you add or change?
- Do you have any other ideas for solving this problem?
- What do you think about N.S.?
- How can it be implemented in the near future?
- Do you understand everything?
- Is there anyone among you who could speak in more detail about…?
- Can you give an example?
- How can I help you?