I consistently have the opportunity to coach leaders regarding the topic of communication.
When I survey many leaders, one area they seek to improve upon is in the area of being concise in their messaging.
So, as an activity I will ask them to write out a description of their job and it’s role in their company if they were in front of an eighth grade middle school class, average age of fourteen years, who have no foundational knowledge of their job, it’s description, nor the company for which they work.
They then submit their responses and as you might imagine, for the most part the responses are presented in a semi-concise, semi-fluent way that a fourteen year old might not understand what they do as a profession.
I will then remind them they are presenting to eighth grade students and ask them to re-write their presentation limiting themselves to nine words.
Often, I will reference this as the nine word activity.
Impossible? Not at all.
If you understand what you do.
Albert Einstein is attributed to saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Communication is simple, and it should be concise, in fact I came across a study that most conversation and most books, outside the area of academia, is written, and of which we speak in conversation is on an eighth grade level.
Not to hurt anyone feelings, ego or to lessen anyone’s educational achievements.
It’s just how we, we as humans, communicate.
So, now what?
The now is today.
The what is thinking ahead to a message you need to deliver to someone and now, today, take that lengthy, over expressed, over articulated approach you have been considering and break it down to…nine words.
It’s all you need.