Get to the Point

In all interactions, it is critical to know one’s audience and to monitor body language and facial reactions. Over casual conversations with friends and family, especially when time is not an immediate consideration, it might be appropriate to share long, drawn out stories, filling in every detail, leaving nothing out.  But, even then, sometimes when you think people are nodding and seem to be agreeing with you, what they may really be doing is begging you to stop talking!

Sure, the play-by-play approach works when both parties have time, patience and interest in the discussion at hand. However, what happens when one or the other individual is pressed for time, lacks the necessary attention span or simply has minimal interest? As the speaker, you best get to the point! Plus, it turns out, when you don’t get to the point, people stop listening to you.  And, as such, good ideas may fall by the wayside because you have lost your audience’s engagement.

To drive home a point, when possible, say what you must in as few words as possible.  And, specifically, if you are asking for something – whether verbally or in writing – it is often a good idea to state up front what you are seeking, then, as necessary, to back it up with an explanation or evidence of the reason your contact should provide it.

For example, when pressed for time, which of the following are you more apt to respond favorably to?

  • “Thank you for your previous support of my efforts. I’m working on a fundraising event and would like to talk with you about the potential of your company serving as a sponsor.  Based on past causes and events to which your organization has donated, I believe my initiative fits within its parameters.  You probably remember what we do, but just in case…”
  • “I really appreciate your past support. Can I count on you to help us take the next step forward?”

In this situation, unless you have something new and exciting to report, don’t repeat yourself.  There is simply no need.  Since your contact is familiar with your mission from a previous contribution, he/she is likely to remember what you’re working on.  And, if not, they will surely ask for more information!

Imagine how much time you’ll save by being direct.  In addition to your increased productivity, I’m guessing you’ll achieve your desired result more frequently.

Do you have an example of either a time when you did or did not get to the point quickly enough to influence the outcome of an interaction?  Please take a moment and share your experience with the CLC Community.

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