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When to Be Brief

Think of that person in your life who gives too little detail. Imagine the teenage son after a long day at school. It often goes like this:

"How was your day?"

"Fine."

"What would you like for dinner?"

"Anything, I don't care."

And on and on. I see this exchange almost every day in my own home and at work and maybe you do as well.

On the other end of the spectrum are those people who give way too much information. You see this in meetings and in conversations. It's as if they don't seem to realize that other people need to speak too.

Whether too much detail or too little, both can be frustrating. My advice is this: pay attention to those around you as well as the context in which you find yourself. Notice the body language of other people and respond accordingly. Finally, try to model behavior that shows others that sometimes you should give a lot of detail and sometimes a briefer comment will do.

Jesus modeled this as well. There were times when he spent a long time in conversation with others (think: woman at the well). He also cut right to the chase, using short analogies to get across a point. If he can do it, so can you.

So when is a brief response appropriate?

1. When you're around a boss who wants to get right to the point.
2. When you are using email.
3. When texting.
4. When using instant message.
5. When the meeting is running out of time.
6. When the people around you need a break.
7. When you are in an emergency.

When was the last time that you thought that being brief was the best course of action?

 

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