Joseph McCormack is all about being brief, getting your story straight, and getting to the point.
Why Brevity Is Vital
Everybody is busy these days. Especially the executives you are giving your pitch to. If you’re rambling on in your marketing or sales pitch, it's going to get lost in the daily flood of information.
Being brief is not only about time, it’s also about communicating the most important points. As McCormack states, it’s not about using the least amount of time. It’s about making the most of the time you have.To adhere to the principle of brevity you above all need to do three things. Be concise, clear, and compelling. To aid this, McCormack gives us three tools to help us stay brief.
Brevity Tool #1: BRIEF Maps
Professionals tell us that an outline is essential for the success of your presentations and sales pitches. McCormack gives us five immediate benefits of using them.
Outlines keep you:
Prepared, so you are ready to deliver your message.
Organized, so you understand how all of your ideas connect.
Clear, so you are certain what your point is.
Contextual, so you can draw a bigger picture so your point stands out.
Confident, so that you know what to say, inside and out.
The BRIEF way to do an outline is organized as follows:
B: Background or beginning.
R: Reason or relevance.
I: Information for inclusion.
E: Ending or conclusion.
F: Follow-up or questions you expect to be asked or that you might ask.
Brevity Tool #2: The Role of Narratives
The best way to keep your audience's attention is to give them a good story to focus on. A narrative map can do just that for us. There are five elements in the map.
The focal point: this is the central part of the story, and tells the audience what it’s about
Setup or challenge: the is the challenge or issue that your organization is addressing.
Opportunity: this is about communicating the opportunity that the challenge poses
Approach: this is how the story unfolds. The how, where, and when of the story and describing how you’ll solve the problem
Payoff: this is how you describe what happens after your solution is implemented.
Brevity Tool #3: Controlled Conversations and TALC Tracks
In order to be brief in a conversational setting one must do what is called shifting from endless monologues to what McCormack calls having controlled conversations. These conversations are characterized by rhythm, purpose, and by having a point.
These are three common mistakes that prevent controlled conversations:
Passive listening: if you let the other person go on and on about everything without saying anything, there is no control.
Waiting your turn: if you only jump into the conversation to say your little part, there is not one conversation happening, there are two separate conversations.
Impulsively reacting: if you are only responding to anything the other person said, there is no clear direction in the conversation
To achieve structure, balance, and brevity in your conversations, use what McCormack calls TALC Tracks.
T stands for talking. In a conversation there is always someone talking and there are two things you need to consider. First, you need to be prepared to say something when the other person finishes, and Second, you need to make sure your response has a clear point.
AL stands for actively listen. In your conversations, don't zone out or in any way take your attention away from the conversation. Again, there are two things you need to consider. First, ask open ended questions. And second, go further into the parts of the conversation you are genuinely interested in.
C stands for converse. At a natural pause in the conversation comes your turn to speak at this stage there are three things to consider. First, don’t try to start a new conversation. Second, keep your response short. And thirdly, know when to stop so the other person can begin their response.