Get ready. You know it’s coming. The meeting started and the opening act is the ever-popular…
I’ve had the privilege to be in many board-level meetings and senior management sessions. Many times, it starts with the highest-ranking executive setting the stage for the topic du jour. While it is important to set expectations and goals of the meeting for everyone in the room, the message must have a beginning, middle, and end.
With only a hard time stop as a barrier, is there anything you can do to stop them when they’re on a roll?
The direct answer is no. The adage, “a rich man’s joke is always funny” has some truth to it. People talk because they can and no one told them to stop.
So, what can we do to prevent yet another management monologue? Is there another way to gain relief and help our leaders get to the point faster?
Like most employees, your options to bring the issue to the attention of the leader can be limited and intimidating, not to mention, a risky career move.
Try an indirect approach.
With today’s warp speed pace, there is a new communication standard for executives to embrace: business brevity. It is the “less is more” concept: say less, but mean more.
But why brevity? Start with this statistic. According to the New York Times, people consume almost 100,500 words digitally and almost 24 GB of content daily. They are getting enough information; they are begging the world to be brief.
Then, share these three key considerations with your leaders. These findings may not only get their attention, it may get them to try a “brevity is best” view:
- Attention spans are shrinking. There is a growing downward trend that people cannot stay focused for more than 8 seconds; it used to be 12 seconds a decade ago. The volume of information to process is mind-blowing. Be hyper-aware that the audience is drowning already.
- Protect precious time. Professionals have to do more with less; they are interrupted 50-60 times per hour. Before the meeting reaches 2 minutes, we want our headline or we start to check out.
- Express power in fewer words. People can process almost 600 words a minute. But that doesn’t mean one should use all 600. Instead, dial it down to 150 words and stop when you have made your point, the first time. Avoid the elusive extra words.
Your best strategy to convince your boss or peer to ditch the monologue moments is to frame the issue, not as a remedial managerial quirk but as a pressing leadership trend.
Modern executives are flooded with information, and interruptions and growing more inattentive and impatient.
Help set the brevity standard and lead by example, enough said.