• 07.21.14

Quote Of The Week: Be Brief Or Be Ignored

Stop being boring with these thoughts on brevity–and download the poster to put on your office door. The office blowhard will get the hint.

Quote Of The Week: Be Brief Or Be Ignored

Every Monday, tune in to Fast Company Leadership for a quote to get your week started right.


This week’s quote comes from Joseph McCormack, author of Brief: Making a Bigger Impact by Saying Less.:

“Brevity is an essential skill that can propel people’s career in an age where the people that they’re talking to are overwhelmed.”

If you’re struggling to grab your audience’s attention–on the Internet or in the board room–say more with less.

Here’s how to avoid a longwinded rant, from Lisa Evans’s article “Less Is More: Why You’re Saying Too Much And Getting Ignored:”

You’re not prepared. Being brief on the fly is difficult. Take the time, before wasting theirs, to concentrate on what you want to convey.

You have something to prove. Rambling does not equal knowledge–just the opposite. If you’re trying to show how smart you are, get to the point, without diversion. “If you can present your point well in two pages, then I’ll read the 20-page paper to see how you got there,” McCormack says.

Your listener is at max capacity. “McCormack says the human brain has the capacity to absorb 750 words a minute, but the average person can only speak about 150 words a minute, meaning there’s an extra 600 words that can float around in the receiver’s brain,” Evans writes.


About the author

Former Tweets, words, and editorial support for Fast Company Leadership. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.