The Value of Being Clear and Concise in Your Communications

Have you ever read a long email and said to yourself, “When is this person ever going to get to the point?” Or just as painful, have you found yourself listening to someone talk for 10 minutes and being completely lost as to where the person is going with the conversation?

People who are indirect in the communication of their messages tend to hint at things, give mixed messages and avoid getting to the point. It’s as if they expect people to be mind readers. What they don’t realize is that their failure to communicate effectively is undermining their ability to build relationships and advance their lives personally and professionally.

In preparation for this lesson, I asked myself, “Of the thousands of people I have worked with in my career, do I know anyone who has been successful who rambles on in their communications?” And guess what?  I could not think of one person.

While concise communication is important, we need to be careful that we are not so direct that people view us as abrupt or unfriendly. A significant component of becoming successful both personally and professionally is learning how to communicate your message in a personable and friendly manner, while at the same time being clear, concise and direct in your message.

People who are able to combine the “likability factor” with good communication skills tend to be more respected. This foundation enables them to build more meaningful relationships and bring more value to the market.

I wish I could tell you that achieving this balance is easy, but it’s not.  It requires an intentional effort and even then it’s difficult. But I can assure you, it will be time well spent.

Being clear and concise in my communication is something I work on EVERY day.  I think about it with EVERY email I type. I think about it with EVERY comment I make on a social media site. I think about it in EVERY blog post I write. I think about it EVERY time I conduct a training and I think about it in EVERY business conversation I have.

I even think about it when I place a pick up order at our favorite local restaurant. Perhaps the only time I don’t think about it is when I have a casual social conversation with my family members or friends.

There is no doubt in my mind that my detailed attention to how I communicate has played an essential element in my personal brand and in my market value.

I want to challenge you to start being aware of ALL of your communications and consider how you can most effectively convey your thoughts in a clear, direct and friendly manner.

Starting with the next thing you type, ask yourself the following three questions:

  • “Is it friendly?
  • Is it clear?
  • Is it concise?”

When you next engage in a conversation, ask yourself the same three questions:

  • Is it friendly?
  • Is it clear?
  • Is it concise?

As is the case with all of the Little Things Matter lessons, mastering them requires an intentional effort.  It begins with one attempt, then the next, and one after that, with each experience building on the previous.

Going the extra mile brings the greatest rewards. Why? Because so few people are willing to do what it really takes to consistently be their personal best.

Once you begin to focus on the quality of your communication, you will immediately see improvement. But your ultimate success will come as a result of the compounding effect of the daily attention paid to effective communication.

Successful communication requires a balance of skills. Be clear and concise but be likable in the process.

About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)

Related Posts

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6 Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings

Preferred Methods of Communication

Make a Positive Impression With Your Personal Voicemail Greeting

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  • Thank you for posting this. Your post in the links following the article, entitled "6 Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings" compliments this one very well. I do encourage folks to go and read it now. As a former English teacher and journalist, I cringe at the butchery inflicted on language in the era of instant electronic communication. To the people who claim that it's the thought and not the details (capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure) that matter in communication, please think about the difference in meaning between the following sentences: "It's time to eat, grandma." or "It's time to eat grandma." Significant difference there, especially to grandma.

  • Hi Janelle,

    Very few comments make me laugh, but eating grandma brought a smile to my face.

    There was a study a year or so ago pointing out that over 50% of all email communication is misunderstood in some way. Regardless of the real number there is no doubt a lot of written communication sent via texting, email and social sites is misunderstood.

    I try to be VERY clear and I still find times when my emails are misunderstood. This is especially important when giving instructions. There are a lot of different ways to misunderstand instructions.

    Thanks for your contributions.


  • donnabrewer

    Hello Todd, this morning you sure hit the nail on the head for me! I indeed had a miss communication when placing a to-go order. I did realize that I had not been clear when placing my order with the person. I will keep this wonderful lesson in mind from now on. Thank you for your last reply, I try to do what is right.. Thank you again, for your valuable website, Donna Brewer

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