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John Seckel, Philadelphia, on The Power of Saying Less

More words do not add clarity. On the contrary, too many words distract from purpose. There is power in saying less because there is power in listening. When people are busy talking, no one is listening for the solution. People who focus their energy on goals, including those who set goals for their communications, tend […]

More words do not add clarity. On the contrary, too many words distract from purpose. There is power in saying less because there is power in listening. When people are busy talking, no one is listening for the solution.

People who focus their energy on goals, including those who set goals for their communications, tend to get more done.

Using Fewer Words in Written and Oral Communications

Brevity in writing and speech can give power in a conversation. Speakers (and writers) should avoid using redundancies and overusing adverbs. Communicators can shorten and strengthen interaction by using mental schemas and word associations.

Too much text on a page distracts from the purpose of the piece. Likewise, when people flood the air waves with too many words, they get distracted from the goal of the conversation.

Tips for Simplifying Communications

When people listen, they tend to learn. When people are heard they tend to listen.

If people want to produce a quality outcome they should aim to simplify communications. Simplicity does not equate to less time, though short meetings hold value when the focus is on finding a solution.

People can get more from their interactions by remembering a few things:

  • Honesty saves time. Sometimes what needs to be said is what no one wants to say. When people are transparent, the solution becomes more apparent. It isn’t always easy to be honest, but honesty will make further steps of the journey a little easier.
  • Patterns need altered. People sometimes need a shift in perspective, and quite often people need to be challenged. When conversations go nowhere because the same concepts keep getting thrown around, people should interrupt those patterns.
  • Body language matters. People say a lot with their bodies. To ignore them would be stupid. Many sit in silence, but the still have something to say. It may actually save time and effort if someone would ask them to speak up.
  • Fewer words means more power. Words are power. Those who reserve their words may find they have more say. The most removed (and maybe inexperienced) person may have the answer others are verbally fumbling around to find. (They may be less emotionally involved and, thus, see from a different light.)

Words are powerful, and people often underestimate their reach. There is power in saying less, and people may find power through first listening to the words of others.

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