Brevity is the essence of effective communication

When emotions run deep, the need for elaborate expressions dominate all other preferences. Just saying ‘sorry’ or ‘Oh that is not good’ will only make matters worse. One has to trace the forces that act and word the emotions properly. Only then the hurt will subside. And yet, paradoxically, the brevity of speech makes the communication more effective. You must talk only of things that matter – those things that are relevant alone. This means that when you say only what must be said, it becomes the best expression that you could probably come up with.

I take lessons from my cat. It does not say much other than ‘meow’ about two or three times and an occasional ‘mrrow’. Yet it communicates that it is hungry or it is satisfied. Its communication is effective. When speaking on a topic or writing an article of importance, if you mention only the relevant points, your communication becomes more effective. Yet if we dwell too much on brevity, we might not get the point across. “Yes, I will get to see you in morning tomorrow” does not convey as much meaning as “Yes, I will bring your file definitely first thing in the morning”. He does not like you as much as he likes his file.

You can draw a parallel to shooting the hoop and writing an article. You can throw your basketball from wherever you are on the court and score and you can pass the ball to your fellow players and hope for something positive to happen. Getting to the point is sometimes very important, especially when you are dealing with rampant emotions. The other perspective is passing the ball around, letting everyone get a feel of the ball and harmonizing the team playing the game. This is one way to nurture talent. It also spreads the field. So, while brevity is and will always be the basis of effective communication, elaborations might sometimes be the way to go. You decide the most effective communication style depending on the playing field.