On a recent afternoon in Pretoria, after hearing several speeches at a function, a windbag gave the vote of thanks.
Instead of doing the task that he was asked to do, the windbag went on and on. He brought in his own thoughts on the topics that had been discussed, put forward his pet theories and droned on about his tired, worn-out ideologies.
In fact, he put all the attention on himself when he was supposed to thank those that made the event possible.
As he stood there on the podium, a bolt of lightning struck above in the heavens. Then the rain started, slowly at first, and then in torrents. Those who saw that the rain was coming, ran out from the outdoor tents, which gave only little shelter from the rain, and rushed to the main building.
There is a lesson in this for anyone who communicates. It’s best to keep your message short and to the point. If you’ve got something new or interesting to say, then by all means say something about it.If you don’t, keep your message short and say what you are required to say.
How often do we have to sit through long, one hour or more speeches without even a comfort break? Who has the time to read through long reports? How many emails do you receive that go on and on and never seem to get to the point?
Business messages and correspondence are filled with puffery and riddled with cliches such as “state-of-the-art”, “cutting edge”, “simply the best” or “market leader”?
Unless you have something new, interesting or of value to communicate, shut up.
When you do have something valuable to communicate, then do it in a short, condensed and abbreviated way — and make it interesting. Have empathy for your reader. Don’t overload them with unnecessary garbage. Give to them straight.
When you come up with a new business idea, implement action plans to grow a start-up, or expand an existing business, you will need to communicate. Lack of basic business communication skills will hold you back.
Give some thought to your commercial messages before you send them out or publish. Your communications may have a stronger chance of being well received and acted upon.