We write all the time in this space about the importance of getting to the point. No one likes to sit in a meeting, or presentation or on a conference call and listen to someone delay or ignore the most important information. We hate it when others do that to us. And yet many, if not most, of us do the exact same thing when it is our turn to lead the discussion.
Why? Why do so many constantly fail to get to the point, and respect other people’s time?
We can only think of a few possible reasons:
- We don’t know the issues well enough. We simply don’t have enough knowledge/perspective/experience to get straight to the heart of the matter. We are not well-informed enough. If we don’t understand it ourselves, it is nearly impossible to get to the heart of the matter for others. Because we don’t know what the heart of the matter is. If this is your problem, the issue is deeper than just strengthening your communication skills toolbox. Instead, you have to ask yourself if you are in the correct job.
- We did not take the time to prepare. In this case, we know the issues, but we didn’t respect our audience enough and have not respected their time. Maybe this is laziness? Maybe we are too busy? But that is an overused excuse… we convince ourselves that we don’t have time to prepare up front. But then all we are doing is hurting ourselves in other ways. Spend the time up front and you’ll save the time on the back end, when your meetings are more effective, more clear, end on time. You’ll get better outcomes.
- We don’t have the skills. This is the easiest to fix. In this case, you know the issues, we have good intentions about respecting other people’s time, but we simply need more tools and techniques in the arsenal. A little bit of effort with a good trainer or coach can fix this one very quickly.
- We don’t realize how important this is. Let’s make this simple. In 2015, it is massively important. Everyone complains about wasted time in bad meetings.
- We are so stuck in the details, that the main point gets lost. If we need help getting to the big picture, ask for it. Sit with a colleague or someone who can help pull the key points out of the morass of detail. This takes some effort, but it is relatively easy to fix.
Think about two things… are you one of the many who does not or cannot get to the point? And if so, why… Once you determine the root cause, a solution often will present itself clearly.
Good luck, and have a great day.
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