In a recent LinkedIn poll we conducted, an overwhelming majority of respondents wanted to be able to be more concise.
Why is brevity important? The more concise you are, the more you can engage an audience’s attention to deliver a powerful message. The more senior the audience you are addressing, the less of their time you have.
The concept of brevity differs in many organizations and cultures, so for broad purposes, we’ll refer to brevity as the absence of unnecessary words (what qualifies as “necessary” will depend on your organization or culture).
Here are 3 ways to make your speech or presentation more concise:
1. Limit your agenda to 3 main points
A speech about everything is a speech about nothing, so organize your messages around 3 points instead of a “laundry list” of items. Even if you have 10 points to cover, make them fit into 3 general buckets so they are easier to remember, and remove the points that don’t fit.
2. Use shorter sentences
Long sentences work well in written format, but when we address an audience out loud, those elegant sentences lose their attention. Every place you are tempted to put an “and” put a “.” instead.
3. Ask each word if it’s necessary
Go line by line in your presentation and make each word fight to be kept in the presentation. For instance, my first sentence in this article can be more concise in a few ways:
- Original: In a recent LinkedIn poll we conducted, an overwhelming majority of respondents wanted to be able to be more concise.
- More Concise: In our recent LinkedIn poll, most respondents wanted to be more concise.
Brevity is a muscle; it’s something we build over time with practice and focus. Use the above tips to make your speech or presentation more concise, and you will more effectively keep your audience’s attention as you deliver an impactful message.