Communication: Be cool, say less and convey more

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In aviation, there is an unwritten rule of respect for pilots who speak calmly and cooly on the radios during emergencies or moments of high stress.

The secret to sounding cool is to think about what you want to say before you say it.

“Think first and then talk.”

Everyone is painfully aware when someone is talking before thinking. Often the talk is wasted because no one listened as the speaker rambled here and there without coherence and organization.

To be a better communicator in the air and on the ground, pay attention to this axiom. It’s the only way your message will be concise.

And if it’s clear and concise, it might just be heard by the audience you are talking to, whether it be your colleague, your business team, or your teenager.

A while back I was asked to deliver a TEDx Talk on High-Trust Leadership in 12 minutes. Whew. My usual presentation was an hour or more. I had to distill it down to its essence. It took me about six tries to get there. Each cut was difficult. But when I finally got it right, it made my subsequent presentations so much better. Because I make the effort to get very clear about the core of my message. Everything else was illustrations, examples, and supporting information.


From Harvard Business Review: “Say Less and Convey More:”

When you’re giving a presentation and nervousness kicks in, it’s tough to be brief. But, your audience expects you to state your conclusion and stand behind it, not ramble on aimlessly. You can only do that if you zero in on the purpose.

When you prepare for your talk, work backwards.

Before you put anything down on paper, know the key message you want your audience to remember. Ask yourself: If my presentation were 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes, what would I say? Force yourself to summarize your key point. Once you’ve done that, think through what other information you’ll need to support that point.


Be a High-Trust Leader: say less and convey more.