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Blogs / Leadership, Life Lessons and Sustainovation / Be Bright. Be Brief. Be Gone.

Be Bright. Be Brief. Be Gone.

Yes, it's the title of a book. But it's also a brilliant adage for effective communication. This is critical to having a commanding and engaging presence in any room. And it's the key to great written communication as well.

Be Bright.

  1. Make eye contact. 7-10 seconds max. When you look away, don't look down, but look right or left.
  2. Shake hands firmly.
  3. Stand tall. Don't slouch.
  4. Uncross your arms and legs.
  5. Smile. Genuinely.
  6. Break the ice to put people at ease.
  7. Project your voice into the room when you speak.
  8. Be positive in how you communicate. "Yes" gets a lot more attention than "No". Phrase things to invite people in.
  9. Engage the audience where they live.
  10. Speak with confidence.

Be Brief.

The most effective communication is brief. Choosing what to leave out can be difficult, but it more effectively engages your audience. Dr. Suess wrote "The Cat in the Hat" with only 236 unique words as a challenge from a publisher on writing a book that captured kids imagination. At the time it sold a million copies. His publisher then bet him $50 (about $400 today) he couldn't write an even better book using only 50 words. He wrote "Green Eggs and Ham", one of the best-selling books of all time. Less is more in communication.

Consider this. The most effective posts, blogs, tweets and talks are short:

  • Facebook makes you “Continue Reading” at 350 characters, which people rarely do if you haven't captured their attention
  • The most popular blogs are between 500-1200 words
  • Twitter is 140 Characters, but best between 70-100 (based on most retweets)
  • Ted Talks are 18 minutes. Ignite, Disrupt and PechaKucha-inspired events (5 minute presentations) are gaining popularity nationwide.

When communicating, define the reason for the communication (issue, goal, etc). Give the relevant facts--good and bad. Leave out extra details that are not relevant to the "bigger picture". But be ready to answer these if asked. Ask only for input or direction you need to move forward. Be timely and relevant with your information. Be positive in how you communicate. Find a way to get to yes.

Be Gone.

Once you've made the sale, stop selling. People mess this up all the time. Pack up, thank the audience and move on. Don't ask for open-ended input in an email unless you need it. It comes across as indecisive, not inclusive. Clarify that an agreement has been reached and what it is. Move on. Being gone is about respecting people's time. And with that said:

Post done.

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