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Bernard

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20 Meetings

68 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

6

How to improve communication skill (oral/writing): more concise & to the point?

Hi, I would like to seek advice on how to work on the feedbacks that my boss gave me.

Some background information: before entering consulting, I worked in business development. Part of the reason my boss hired me is because my strength in BD skills and people skills (she still acknowledges people skill is my stregth now). I have joined the firm for 5 months and one piece of advice my boss gave me is that my communication or report writing should be more "concise and to the point".

I think one of the problem is that I'm not so comfortable switching between being "sociable" and "business sharp". Since I haven't presented to client, the feedback is based on the daily interaction when working on projects with her. My boss also said sometimes I express too much details, including oral communication and email. My reasoning is because I would like to keep everyone in the loop on the same page. Although I have tried to use the pyramid structure to write the emails, but my boss thinks that email content is sometimes too lengthy, and should be concise and simple.

Could you please share on some advice, experience, or actionable suggestions so that I could make my overall daily communication "concise and to the point"? Thanks a lot!

Hi, I would like to seek advice on how to work on the feedbacks that my boss gave me.

Some background information: before entering consulting, I worked in business development. Part of the reason my boss hired me is because my strength in BD skills and people skills (she still acknowledges people skill is my stregth now). I have joined the firm for 5 months and one piece of advice my boss gave me is that my communication or report writing should be more "concise and to the point".

I think one of the problem is that I'm not so comfortable switching between being "sociable" and "business sharp". Since I haven't presented to client, the feedback is based on the daily interaction when working on projects with her. My boss also said sometimes I express too much details, including oral communication and email. My reasoning is because I would like to keep everyone in the loop on the same page. Although I have tried to use the pyramid structure to write the emails, but my boss thinks that email content is sometimes too lengthy, and should be concise and simple.

Could you please share on some advice, experience, or actionable suggestions so that I could make my overall daily communication "concise and to the point"? Thanks a lot!

6 answers

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Book a coaching with Bernard

100% Recommendation Rate

20 Meetings

68 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Hi! Great question!

In my view, objective/to-the-point communication has three key components: style, structure and emotions:

1. Style:

  • Effective style embodies 3Cs: Clear, Concise, and Compelling
  • Focus on action. Have the subject of the sentence do the verb. Keep the subject and verb as close together as possible
  • Favor the active over the passive voice
  • Keep words short and simple. Prefer a word to a phrase

2. Structure:

  • The classic introduction to a business document takes the form of a miniature narrative - it tells a little story. And the form of this story is often described as: "Situation - Complication - Resolution", or S-C-R
    • Situation: describe the situation that gives rise to the problem you are addressing - "For the past ten years, we have enjoyed a near monopoly in our key markets."
    • Complication: explain why things have become more complicated - "Now deregulation is opening us up to competition".
    • Resolution: answer the question that this raises, with a solution that resolves the problem

3. Emotions:

  • We may master the theory of effective communication but still write long emails. Being direct means exposing yourself more. Using jargon may be an unconscious reaction to shield yourself from "confrontation" or situations where you may make mistakes or receive negative feedback.
  • Although this may not be your case, I think it is worth highlighting. I only became an effective communicator when I started looking deeply at my insecurities and being more resilient and open to making mistakes, seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow

Hi! Great question!

In my view, objective/to-the-point communication has three key components: style, structure and emotions:

1. Style:

  • Effective style embodies 3Cs: Clear, Concise, and Compelling
  • Focus on action. Have the subject of the sentence do the verb. Keep the subject and verb as close together as possible
  • Favor the active over the passive voice
  • Keep words short and simple. Prefer a word to a phrase

2. Structure:

  • The classic introduction to a business document takes the form of a miniature narrative - it tells a little story. And the form of this story is often described as: "Situation - Complication - Resolution", or S-C-R
    • Situation: describe the situation that gives rise to the problem you are addressing - "For the past ten years, we have enjoyed a near monopoly in our key markets."
    • Complication: explain why things have become more complicated - "Now deregulation is opening us up to competition".
    • Resolution: answer the question that this raises, with a solution that resolves the problem

3. Emotions:

  • We may master the theory of effective communication but still write long emails. Being direct means exposing yourself more. Using jargon may be an unconscious reaction to shield yourself from "confrontation" or situations where you may make mistakes or receive negative feedback.
  • Although this may not be your case, I think it is worth highlighting. I only became an effective communicator when I started looking deeply at my insecurities and being more resilient and open to making mistakes, seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow
Book a coaching with Francesco

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Hi there,

A couple of tips in general, also for oral communication:

  1. Start with the main topic you want to discuss (“I would need help with improving my communication. I found I have 3 main issues”)
  2. Use numbers to express your logic and communication (“First…, second…, third…”)
  3. Use a takeaway to suggest what are next steps or how to continue the process. Being specific may help the listener to provide help more easily (“Would appreciate if you have specific suggestions based on your consulting day-to-day job”)

For emails and reports specifically:

  1. Write down your first draft, re-read and cut the non-essential – this is also what all great writer do
  2. Use shorter sentences. They improve readability
  3. Use shorter paragraphs. Same as before (your paragraphs in the question were slightly long)
  4. Use bullets and numbers to be more structured if applicable

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

A couple of tips in general, also for oral communication:

  1. Start with the main topic you want to discuss (“I would need help with improving my communication. I found I have 3 main issues”)
  2. Use numbers to express your logic and communication (“First…, second…, third…”)
  3. Use a takeaway to suggest what are next steps or how to continue the process. Being specific may help the listener to provide help more easily (“Would appreciate if you have specific suggestions based on your consulting day-to-day job”)

For emails and reports specifically:

  1. Write down your first draft, re-read and cut the non-essential – this is also what all great writer do
  2. Use shorter sentences. They improve readability
  3. Use shorter paragraphs. Same as before (your paragraphs in the question were slightly long)
  4. Use bullets and numbers to be more structured if applicable

Best,

Francesco

Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

239 Meetings

20,784 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi there,

It's easy to make something complicated, hard to make something simple. How to fix this?

Take a few seconds - gather your thoughts. Perhaps right them down. Take a quick breather to better formulate and then articulate your thoughts

  1. Pause before speaking to gather your thoughts - the time may feel like forever for you, but it's not nearly as long as you think. Leverage filler sentences such as "that's and interesting point" to buy some time if needed.
  2. Frame your answer - Generally, MBBers say "There are 3 parts to this". Then, they highlight in 1 sentence each of the 2-4 points
  3. Iterate through each point - After framing how you're going to answer the question, then answer it by diving into each "part" in the order you summarized each.

Use signposting - Always preface what you will be saying. For example, when brainstorming you can say "I'm thinking about this in three main ways: A, B, and C. Within A we can look at..."

Practice with a coach - Other PrepLounger are fantastic practice but they are generally too nice! you need a coach who will really hit back and work with you to improve your answers.

Hi there,

It's easy to make something complicated, hard to make something simple. How to fix this?

Take a few seconds - gather your thoughts. Perhaps right them down. Take a quick breather to better formulate and then articulate your thoughts

  1. Pause before speaking to gather your thoughts - the time may feel like forever for you, but it's not nearly as long as you think. Leverage filler sentences such as "that's and interesting point" to buy some time if needed.
  2. Frame your answer - Generally, MBBers say "There are 3 parts to this". Then, they highlight in 1 sentence each of the 2-4 points
  3. Iterate through each point - After framing how you're going to answer the question, then answer it by diving into each "part" in the order you summarized each.

Use signposting - Always preface what you will be saying. For example, when brainstorming you can say "I'm thinking about this in three main ways: A, B, and C. Within A we can look at..."

Practice with a coach - Other PrepLounger are fantastic practice but they are generally too nice! you need a coach who will really hit back and work with you to improve your answers.

(edited)

Book a coaching with Iman

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1,503 Q&A Upvotes

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Hi,

I would suggest the following steps:

  1. Get a sheet of paper / open a word file and write the main message you want to deliver
  2. Identify what are key supporting message required to for your main messae
  3. Under each supporting message write the relevant facts
  4. Review this structure and try to eliminate the unecessary element from your structure. At first it will be difficult as you will think all is important but force yourself
  5. Write you emails based on the final structure and review again the email to make sure it is make sense or not
  6. Do this until you can do it on the fly without the need of doing this anymore

For your oral communication try to prepare your points for any meeting / discussion you will be involved beforehand using similar method.

Best,
Iman

Hi,

I would suggest the following steps:

  1. Get a sheet of paper / open a word file and write the main message you want to deliver
  2. Identify what are key supporting message required to for your main messae
  3. Under each supporting message write the relevant facts
  4. Review this structure and try to eliminate the unecessary element from your structure. At first it will be difficult as you will think all is important but force yourself
  5. Write you emails based on the final structure and review again the email to make sure it is make sense or not
  6. Do this until you can do it on the fly without the need of doing this anymore

For your oral communication try to prepare your points for any meeting / discussion you will be involved beforehand using similar method.

Best,
Iman

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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6,345 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Hi there,

What I see also in the way you framed your question is that you have a slight tendency to overexplain things, to give too much context. What if you had to make your question half as long and it would still make sense? You can basically start by doing this and then it'll become a habit.

I suggest you train yourself in editing your own texts (run through them couple of times before sending), cutting all the extra explanation, simplifying the information.

I can also recommend you the Elevate app - there are some games exactly about that.

Hope it was helpful,

Cheers,

GB

Hi there,

What I see also in the way you framed your question is that you have a slight tendency to overexplain things, to give too much context. What if you had to make your question half as long and it would still make sense? You can basically start by doing this and then it'll become a habit.

I suggest you train yourself in editing your own texts (run through them couple of times before sending), cutting all the extra explanation, simplifying the information.

I can also recommend you the Elevate app - there are some games exactly about that.

Hope it was helpful,

Cheers,

GB

Book a coaching with Antonello

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154 Meetings

5,268 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

Hi,

The other coaches already provided you with a lot of tips and best practices.

My main suggestion is to work on top down communication, both written and oral. I'm referring to the famous Pyramid Principle, where you first state the 3 reasons why you make a statement and then you "explode" each of the 3 in depth.

You'll find a lot on resources on top down communication. Read them, they'll help you a lot!

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

Hi,

The other coaches already provided you with a lot of tips and best practices.

My main suggestion is to work on top down communication, both written and oral. I'm referring to the famous Pyramid Principle, where you first state the 3 reasons why you make a statement and then you "explode" each of the 3 in depth.

You'll find a lot on resources on top down communication. Read them, they'll help you a lot!

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

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Soul Music is a newly founded music production company operating in the Asia Pacific region. It partners with several other agencies & distributors across the region. The internal communications team at Soul Music maintains a network of advocates across the company (internally) and partner instituti ... Open whole case