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Less is more: Why great leaders keep it brief

(Just over a week ago a large earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand. There is a lot of information being shared as people come together to support each other and rebuild so perhaps the best contribution I can make in this information-rich setting is a brief one…)

Haiku.

Twitter.

The executive summary.

The power of these forms of communication lies in their constraint. They force us to say more with less.

Often the most powerful communication is brief.

In the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet “brevity is the soul of wit.”

Neil Armstrong captured the sentiment of the world after stepping onto the surface of the moon with just 11 well-chosen words. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

When Alfred Hitchcock won his Oscar, it took only six seconds for him to offer his simple, “Thank you,” pause, and then add, “very much indeed.” In true Hitchcock fashion, he gave us all we needed without revealing too much.

What’s the most pressing message you need to communicate?
How can you say it powerfully, but without waffle?
Can you say more with less?

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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