How to Be Succinct in 3 Steps

Back in school, I remember getting the word “succinct” on my vocabulary list.

“Why do we need to learn THIS word?”, I groaned to the nuns. (Carmelite Sisters of Charity… I think they wore army boots and brandished weapons under their habits, but we’ll save that for another post.)

They couldn’t really answer beyond “Because we say you must learn it!” … right before I was sent to Mother Superior for some lecturing on talking back in class.

Fast forward from my insolent youth and into today:  I actually get asked questions using the word SUCCINCT several times a week.

When I ask someone “What’s the biggest challenge you have right now in your marketing?”, 9 times out of 10 someone will say “I can’t say what I do succinctly.” Or “I can’t be succinct in my marketing communication and it’s driving me crazy and costing me.” Same thing, different word forms.

Ah, so the real world does use the word succinct and it seems to be a hot topic!

People I work with come to me with wordy descriptions of what they do. They’re in utter pain because without a concise way to describe how they help others, they get passed over and can’t transform the lives and businesses they can help.

They also can’t communicate the value of their work, connect it to the needs of their clients, and thus increase their revenue.

The “talk about what you do” thing is the hinge on the door that opens up to more business. If you’re having trouble with that, then you’ll have trouble generating the interest you need to get more sales.

Being succinct is the name of the game but  it takes practice and retraining. It’s about distilling large pieces of information into bite sized nuggets people can mentally latch onto and associate with.

Here are 3 tips I give my clients to retrain them to be succinct. Put these into practice and your succinct message will be much easier to get to:
[step_graphics style="5" color="#ee2530" ][step  style="5" text="1" headline="Practice%20the%20Rule%20of%203"]%3Cp%3EThis%20is%20a%20game%20you%20can%20start%20playing%20to%20be%20more%20succinct.%20Boil%20everything%20down%20to%203's.%20For%20example%2C%20when%20I%20describe%20what%20coaching%20does%2C%20I%20say%20it%20involves%203%20key%20steps%3A%20%20%22Peel%2C%20reveal%2C%20and%20deal.%22%20When%20I%20teach%20clients%20how%20to%20create%20coaching%20packages%2C%20we%20focus%20on%20the%20Beginning%20(intake)%2C%20Middle%20(milestones%20and%20goals)%2C%20and%20End%20(evaluation%20and%20next%20steps).%203.%20Tres.%20Trois.%20San.%20Start%20boiling%20everything%20down%20to%203's%20and%20you'll%20start%20to%20see%20a%20shift%20in%20your%20succinctness.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style="5" text="2" headline="Time%20Yourself"]%3Cp%3EFor%20those%20of%20us%20blessed%20with%20the%20gift%20of%20gab%2C%20this%20is%20a%20doozy.%20It%20pains%20me%20too%2C%20but%20we%20must%20practice%20this%20one!%20Time%20yourself%20to%20say%20whatever%20you%20have%20to%20say%20in%20the%20least%20amount%20of%20time%20possible.%20Imagine%20someone%20asks%20you%20how%20your%20day%20went.%20Try%20to%20summarize%20it%20in%2030%20seconds%20or%20less.%20I%20know%2C%20you%20want%20to%20tell%20about%20the%20shopping%20cart%20that%20rolled%20in%20front%20of%20you%20in%20the%20parking%20lot%20and%20the%20leaf%20that%20blew%20across%20the%20windshield%2C%20but%20for%20this%20exercise%20really%20squeeze%20your%20day%20into%2030%20seconds.%20You%20can%20go%20into%20detail%20later%20if%20someone%20wants%20to%20hear%20the%20whole%20story%2C%20but%20try%20to%20give%20the%2030%20second%20pitch.%20Think%20of%20how%20movie%20plots%20are%20distilled%20down%20to%20one%20sentence...%20can%20you%20do%20that%20too%3F%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style="5" text="3" headline="Get%20Hemingway's%20Help"]%3Cp%3EErnest%20Hemingway%20was%20famous%20for%20writing%20short%20sentences.%20There''ll%20get%20feedback%20on%20how%20to%20be%20more%20succinct.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][/step_graphics]

Practice those 3 steps and you’ll find yourself getting to the gist of things much more quickly and easily. When you can dial in your message succinctly, people will get what you do, want what you offer, and hire you!


Next step? Connect with me for a consultation to learn how to apply these principles to your business.

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Nancy Marmolejo February 16, 2015 Market Positioning, Uncategorized