By Larry Schuster
Imagine you were the founder of a company. You knew everything about it.
Could you tell a stranger at a business networking meeting a few key points about the company, so you both could decide quickly if there was something to talk about?
Yet, he couldn’t deliver a clear message even if I were prepared to pay him millions of dollars.
In fact, there were investors in that room that evening who did have money to invest if someone could tell a compelling story about their business. Language was not a barrier. He and I are both native English speakers.
If he couldn’t deliver a few key points about his business in two minutes, then I imagine that most people on Earth couldn’t do it. It’s not that they are unable to do it. They just don’t take the time to prepare their few points. Or they may think they don’t have the talent.
I’ve been in situations where four sentences made the difference between getting hired or rejected.
Expertise alone won’t attract best opportunities. It’s not just company founders and public speakers who could benefit from a focused “less is more” approach. Last week, I spoke with two highly skilled professionals in multinational companies, who told me they had great difficulty in summarizing some issues quickly and to the point in their internal meetings, even when they were just talking with their boss.
The answer is usually simple. Imagine what your bosses or listeners need or want to hear and only tell that and nothing more. Unless they ask. Whenever I violated that rule, I killed an opportunity, in both personal and professional relationships. And I’m most impressed by people who follow that rule in conversations with me.
Next time you plan to summarize anything in business, time yourself and finish under 2 minutes and deliver only three points. And that’s about 10 sentences, about three sentences per point.
What are the three points they most need or want to hear? If they want more, fine, as long as they ask for it.
Until then, stand out from the crowd! And do it under two minutes!
Senior Consultant, Crescendo Communications Consulting