Top Ten Tips for shorter communications (Part 1)

16th July 2024

Here are the first five of my ten top tips for making your communication shorter:

  1. Verbal first – written stuff takes longer than verbal. Especially if the topic’s complex or contentious  So, pick the phone up first.  If you need written confirmation of what you agree verbally, send a short confirmatory email after your chat
  2. Shorter duration – stop scheduling meetings in multiples of 30 minutes.  Instead of 30/60, make them 20/40.  Do this, and you have reduced the time you spend in meetings by a third!
  3. First the DO, then the content – when creating communications, the first step should be to ask yourself “what do I want the other person to DO after this communication?”  Once you know this, that will show you what your content needs to be.  If you start with the content, you will say too much stuff. And, worse, they won’t DO what you want after it
  4. Put this DO in the title – example: if your DO for after a meeting is that you’ve all agreed our priorities for the next quarter, call the meeting “Meeting to agree our priorities for the next quarter”.  Putting the DO in the title means everyone focusses on it.  Doing the opposite – and calling the meeting “update” – doesn’t. Which means meandering. Which means boredom.
  5. Agree the skeleton beforehand – when someone asks you to create a communication for them (or you ask someone to write one for you), agree with them what the headings/skeleton of that communication will be.  That way, you’re more likely to create something that the other person likes. Needless re-writes are horrific. This Tip helps avoid them

Which other tips would you add?

Action Point

Spend less time communicating!

Choose all of the above that will save you the most time …

And then do them.

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