I have a tendency to be long winded in conversation. I’m not sure if it’s because I get uncomfortable with silence or I need feedback; either way I fill the silence. This becomes a problem when I’m on the phone and a parent is inquiring about the ministry. I end up over explaining, which leads to the parent becoming overwhelmed. Sometimes we need to keep it short; and, while we may not all be long winded there are 3 areas where too much, hurts:
- Emails – Use the scroll down rule. If people have to scroll down to read an email you’ll loose them. They become scanners and will misread certain sentences. Bullet, bold and italicize if needed; however, more importantly keep it brief.
- Instructions – I tell my team if a game cannot be explained in two minutes or less you’ll only have chaos. Too much information will compete and eventually cancel itself. If you don’t believe me, try the following experiment. Next time you watch television try and recite the order and content of all the commercials you just watched.
- Meetings – Anything longer than an hour should become a training. Meetings that drag on are unproductive. To combat this create an agenda, start on time and end on time. Not only will you’ll get more out of it, but people won’t mind coming.
There is a lot of information for us to communicate, but we can’t let it become overwhelming. How do you know if you are being long winded? Just ask someone you trust. Ask them to give you real feedback and then work on it.
Where do you need to keep it short?