How to Speak More Concisely: 15 Tips for Clear and Compact Communication

A common question I get from coaching clients is “how do I become a more concise communicator?”

Given these realities, it’s no wonder that studies rank good communication skills as twice as important as good managerial skills. That’s because, in this age of oversaturation, there’s little margin for error. In fact, 86% of employees blame lack of good communication for workplace failures.

People get impatient when they have to work mental overtime to grasp what you’re saying. Long-windedness can be perceived as indecisiveness and quickly cost you trust and respect as a leader.

Concise communication is clearly an essential part of executive presence and projecting confidence, but it’s also something Sensitive Strivers frequently struggle with. MORE FROM

In both professional and personal settings, being able to communicate concisely is a valuable skill. Getting straight to the point allows you to share ideas and information more efficiently. It shows respect for others’ time and attention spans.

However, speaking concisely does not always come naturally. It requires forethought, restraint, and practice. In this guide, we’ll explore 15 tips to help you speak more concisely. Master these techniques to become a clear, compact communicator.

Why Concise Communication Matters

Before diving into the tips let’s review the key benefits of concise communication

  • Clarity – Removes superfluous details so core message shines through

  • Brevity – Respects people’s limited time and overloaded attention.

  • Persuasion – Conveys ideas and asks succinctly to spur action.

  • Credibility – Shows preparation, focus, and professionalism.

  • Recall – Memorable messages are crisp and to the point.

  • Productivity – Eliminates waste to communicate faster and more efficiently.

Whether it’s a meeting, presentation, email or casual conversation, conciseness keeps the interaction focused and optimizes everyone’s time. It also builds your professional reputation.

Now let’s look at ways to put this into practice.

How to Speak More Concisely

Here are 15 tactics to help you communicate in a clear, compact way:

1. Plan What You Want to Say

  • Identify your core message and supporting points upfront.

  • Map out what needs to be said to support your goal.

  • Prepare an outline or notes to stay on track.

Planning prevents rambling and ensures you share information purposefully.

2. Be Mindful of Over-Explaining

  • Avoid belaboring points or reiterating what’s already been said.

  • Don’t clarify unless someone explicitly asks for more detail.

  • If you start elaborating, pause and ask if you need to provide more context.

Err on the side of less explanation rather than risk confusing with too much detail.

3. Try to Refrain From Using Filler Words

  • Limit usage of “um”, “like”, “you know”, and other verbal crutches.

  • Improve through active practice and self-monitoring.

Filler words dilute your message and undermine concise delivery.

4. Use a Specific Example

  • Illustrate your point succinctly with a relevant example.

  • “Show” instead of “tell” to make it more memorable and concrete.

A well-chosen example conveys as much as several sentences of description.

5. Consider Your Audience

  • Determine what background knowledge your audience has on the topic.

  • Provide just enough context to make your point understandable.

  • Avoid covering what they likely already know.

Customize your message to respect your listeners’ existing familiarity.

6. Record Yourself Speaking

  • Review video or audio recordings of your communication.

  • Identify areas where you over-explain or ramble.

  • Use the recordings to refine your speaking approach.

Reviewing recordings makes it easier to spot areas for improvement.

7. Lead With Your Main Point

  • Start with the crux of your message or request upfront.

  • Provide necessary background and details after presenting the main idea.

Don’t make people wait to understand why you’re speaking.

8. Be Direct and Declarative

  • Avoid equivocating language like “Maybe we could possibly consider…”

  • Make clear statements like “We should do X because Y”.

Speeches full of hedging language sound uncertain and roundabout.

9. Prioritize Information

  • Cover only high priority details.

  • Leave out secondary points and tangents.

  • Defer non-critical information for follow-up if needed.

Stick to the most important, relevant information.

10. Condense Data-Heavy Details

  • Summarize data instead of presenting full tables or charts.

  • Pull out key data points that make your case.

Avoid inundating people with data they won’t fully absorb anyway.

11. Use Short, Direct Sentences

  • Favor short sentences with clear meaning.

  • Avoid complex sentence structures when possible.

  • Break up long-winded sentences into two simpler ones.

Short sentences eliminate unnecessary words and complexity.

12. Limit Qualifiers and Intensifiers

  • Use qualifiers like “somewhat” and intensifiers like “very” judiciously.

  • In most cases, the extra words weaken your point rather than strengthen it.

Qualifiers cloud meaning. Let your statements stand on their own.

13. Prepare Impromptu Remarks

  • Even for off-the-cuff remarks, quickly outline your main point mentally.

  • Stick to that roadmap instead of wandering aimlessly.

With practice, you can learn to think and speak concisely on the fly.

14. Set a Time Limit

  • Give yourself a short timebox for informal communication.

  • Practice expressing thoughts within tight time constraints.

Time pressure will force you to trim unnecessary words and details.

15. Listen Actively

  • Focus completely on what the other person is saying.

  • Don’t just wait for your turn to speak again.

  • Truly listening leads to more concise, thoughtful responses.

Reduce self-centered speaking by elevating the importance of listening.

Speaking Concisely Takes Practice

Like any skill, speaking concisely requires intention, effort, and repetition. But it’s worth the investment. Concise communicators come across as more credible, capable, and professional. Their messages are clear, brief, and persuasive.

Practice thinking through your remarks beforehand. Challenge yourself to convey ideas as compactly as possible. Strive to eliminate clutter and stay focused on the essentials. Listen carefully to detect when you over-explain or lose others’ interest.

With concerted effort, you can shift towards more concise communication. You’ll get better at delivering messages that stick. Both you and your listeners will benefit from the increased clarity and respect for people’s limited time and attention.

So take up the challenge to improve your concise speaking skills. Review these tips before your next meeting or presentation. Reflect on how you can express yourself in a more focused, succinct way. You have knowledge and ideas to share – make sure you do so in a way others can absorb and appreciate. Concise communication takes work but delivers immense value.

how to speak more concisely

Why Sensitive Strivers Struggle with Concise Communication

You overexplain.

You may think that you’re being thorough, but all you’re really doing is losing the other person’s attention. Instead of making your point clear, you end up clouding it by overexplaining. Many Sensitive Strivers inadvertently overcompensate for their insecurities by saying more, especially in situations where they feel intimidated.

You think everyone is like you.

You may like to process information deeply, but you’re in the minority (only about 15-20% of the population is sensitive). Trust me, I get it. I’m a high-input person, which means I need to take in tons of data points before making a decision. But other people, especially senior executives, don’t operate that way. They get easily overwhelmed by too much information and would prefer you be direct and to the point.

You’re trying to be someone you’re not.

Clients tell me that they “need a bigger personality” in order to exude executive presence. No, you don’t. If you try to be someone you’re not, others will sense it. Not only will you come off as inauthentic, but you’ll also exhaust yourself in the process. Better to find a way to communicate concisely in a manner that fits your personality and style.

How I Learned to Speak With More CLARITY – 7 Tips for Clear, Concise Speech

How do I get more concise in my speaking?

Here are two simple ways to get more concise in your speaking. Both are for building spontaneous concision: the kind you use in free-flowing meetings, Q&As after presentations, and on-the-fly interactions with decision makers. 1. The Read and Speak Exercise Read a news article or report related to your industry.

How do I speak concisely?

One of the best ways to ensure you speak concisely is to plan what you would like to say before you start speaking. This can help you determine which ideas might be the most important to share by allowing you to consider everything you might include while speaking.

Why is concise speaking important?

Concise speaking makes a huge difference in the quality of your presentations. The benefits include: 1. Focusing the audience. When you give your audience too much information, you make it harder for them to know what is most important.

How can I practice speaking on my own?

You can practice speaking on your own by recording yourself as you talk about what you hope to discuss out loud. Then, you can listen to the recording and pay attention to details like how long you take to speak and whether you over-explain or use filler words.

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