Living is, to a great extent, about communicating (without it we wouldn’t make good couples and preserve the species). And communication requires, to a great degree, speaking or writing words representing succinct form of our thoughts (otherwise we could easily hate talking to each other). All we have to do is remember that simple observation (and live according to it).
You can see something and you can watch something. You can hear something and you can listen to something. Almost everything you do, you can do in a more engaged fashion too. Speaking or writing is not an exception, you already know it. Commitment is important, because it helps us doing our jobs better, i.e. faster, better and more thoroughly. It requires increased focus, though, straining our mind or body more - unless you’re genius, that is simply inevitable.
But there is some kind of pleasure coming from accomplishing tasks, even simple ones, and it’s also greater if we were more engaged into them. Others can often feel our commitment. It’s easier to grasp in speech than in writing, but you almost always know it’s there when it’s really there. We like such commitment of our interlocutors, because it shows they’re not indifferent, they do care about the stuff.
The question is whether they care enough. If you attended university in the past you most likely met following kinds of lecturers:
- Lecturer that shouldn’t be lecturer at all - speaks about things she or he doesn’t understand and in a way it’s even less comprehensible for the audience.
- Lecturer that has so broad knowledge and is so much into the topic that can easily lost hours speaking about petty details.
- Lecturer that has moderate knowledge, enough to explain most of the things and these explanations are often brief, but not always correct.
- Lecturer that has broad knowledge, yet she or he is able to share it paying high attention to clarity and brevity of the lecture.
Can you relate? Last kind I mentioned is definitely the best one, but such lecturers are rare, such rare that you remember them for a long time and you have deep respect for them. (Well, at least I have and I doubt I’ll ever forget about them.) Why we like to listen to them? Because they are engaged in the subject and they are engaged in sharing their knowledge, thus they want to do it right. They do care enough. They are succinct and they make their lectures succinct.
What it means to be succinct? Well-known paraphrase of Einstein’s words, i.e. “making things as simple as possible, but not simpler” hits the mark. Outcome of your work should be always complete yet comprehensible by targeted audience. Content of your work should be correct, concise and avoiding unimportant details, while its form should be minimal, free of unnecessary distractions and actually improving content clarity as much as possible. Think about it. You can really apply this approach to many activities you do in your life.
I’m sorry. I think I am not yet succinct and what I write or what I speak is rarely succinct either. Being aware of that is half of the success and I’m working on the other half. Although I am not an expert, I believe I can share a few good points about succinctly conveying verbal or written messages formed from our thoughts and ideas. Most tips can be obvious. Why? Everyone has sort of life-long expertise in that matter as we communicate everyday. Despite this, many of us still often fail in doing it right. I refer particularly to this prevailing feeling that we could do a better job at last speaking, writing, whatever we did. Not imaginary conditional concerns (if I knew the subject better…), but a real thing, feeling coming from the depths of our hearts. You can fight against it only proactively.
So how can one be succinct? I’ll try to guide you in some of my upcoming posts. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments earlier, hopefully succinctly.