Iâm loving Joseph McCormackâs new novel, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less.Â The focus is on lean communication.Â McCormack terms it Six Sigma for your mouth!Â âIn our attention deficit economy, being brief is whatâs desperately needed & rarely delivered.â
People speak at about 150 words per minute, but we have the mental capacity to deal with 750 words per minute.Â That leaves a space of 600 words where we driftâthink other thoughts, take a mini-vacation, lose focus, etc.
Military Photographer of the Year Winner 1997. Title: Thoughts Elsewhere.
Major Kurt Tek daydreams while coming home from a deployment, 01/01/1997. National Archives Identifier 6498091
McCormackâs tips for clear, concise, and compelling oral presentations are simple:Â map it, tell it, talk it, & show it.Â Outline your remarksâbackground, relevance, information to impart, conclusion, and follow-up anticipating expected questions.Â Use narrative storytelling to deliver the message.Â Use a controlled conversation rather than a monologue.Â And use visuals to increase engagement.Â Most importantly, stop talking and give people a chance to process.Â âThe mind is a processor, and if you keep hitting the send button, the effect can be maddening & futile.â
I’m was especially taken with his advice on avoiding TL/DR (too long, didnât read) on email messages:
- Make it Invitingâa strong subject line
- Limit to One Screen
- Embrace the White Spaceâinstead of 8-10 sentence paragraphs, aim for three to four.
- Use Bold Where Appropriate
- Use Bullets and Numbersâstarting each with a strong word or catchy phrase.
- Cut the Fluffâtrim whatâs unnecessary.
Finally, McCormack warns:Â âWhen people see you reading this book, theyâre going to expect a difference.âÂ Noted!