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Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less

Book Description

Get heard by being clear and concise

The only way to survive in business today is to be a lean communicator. Busy executives expect you to respect and manage their time more effectively than ever. You need to do the groundwork to make your message tight and to the point. The average professional receives 304 emails per week and checks their smartphones 36 times an hour and 38 hours a week. This inattention has spread to every part of life. The average attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight in 2012.

So, throw them a lifeline and be brief.

Author Joe McCormack tackles the challenges of inattention, interruptions, and impatience that every professional faces. His proven B.R.I.E.F. approach, which stands for Background, Relevance, Information, Ending, and Follow up, helps simplify and clarify complex communication. BRIEF will help you summarize lengthy information, tell a short story, harness the power of infographics and videos, and turn monologue presentations into controlled conversations.

  • Details the B.R.I.E.F. approach to distilling your message into a brief presentation

  • Written by the founder and CEO of Sheffield Marketing Partners, which specializes in message and narrative development, who is also a recognized expert in Narrative Mapping, a technique that helps clients achieve a clearer and more concise message

Long story short: BRIEF will help you gain the muscle you need to eliminate wasteful words and stand out from the rest. Be better. Be brief.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Foreword
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Preface
  8. Part One: Awareness: Heightened Awareness in a World Begging for BRIEF
    1. Chapter 1: Why Brevity Is Vital
      1. Get to the Point or Pay the Price
      2. Executive—Interrupted
      3. Who's Responsible for Adapting When the Message Is Not Being Heard?
      4. Timing Is of the Essence
      5. BRIEF Balance: The Harmony of Clear, Concise, and Compelling
      6. A BRIEF Timeout
    2. Chapter 2: Mindful of Mind-filled-ness
      1. Brevity Is Like an Instant Stress Release
      2. Battling Overcapacity
      3. 1. Information Inundation—The Water's Rising
      4. 2. Inattention—The Muscle Is Weakening
      5. 3. Interruption—The Rate Is Alarming
      6. 4. Impatience—The Ice Is Thinning
      7. What Does It All Mean?
      8. Your New Reality: There's No Time for a Slow Buildup
      9. Test Yourself
      10. Examination of Brevity
      11. A New Professional Standard
      12. Notes
    3. Chapter 3: Why You Struggle with Brevity: The Seven Capital Sins
      1. Why Is It So Difficult?
      2. 1. Cowardice
      3. 2. Confidence
      4. 3. Callousness
      5. 4. Comfort
      6. 5. Confusion
      7. 6. Complication
      8. 7. Carelessness
    4. Chapter 4: The Big Bang of Brevity
      1. A Success Story
  9. Part Two: Discipline: How to Gain Discipline to Be Clear and Concise
    1. Chapter 5: Mental Muscle Memory to Master Brevity
      1. The Exercise of Brevity
    2. Chapter 6: Map It: From Mind Mapping to BRIEF Maps
      1. Your 11th Grade English Teacher Was Right
      2. An Outline Is Missing, and So Is the Sale
      3. Mind Mapping and the Modern Outline
      4. BRIEF Maps: A Practical Tool for Delivering Brevity
      5. How a BRIEF Map Can Be Used
      6. Wrong Approach: Bob Chooses to Share but Not to Prepare
      7. Right Approach: Bob Prepares a BRIEF Map and Maintains Executive Support
      8. BRIEF Maps: What's the Payoff?
      9. Notes
    3. Chapter 7: Tell It: The Role of Narratives
      1. I'm Tired of Meaningless and Meandering Corporate Jargon. I'm Ready for a Good Story.
      2. Where's the Disconnect? When a Story Is Missing
      3. The Birth of Narrative Mapping: A Way to Organize and Deliver Your Story
      4. Rediscovery of Narratives and Storytelling: Breaking through the Blah, Blah, Blah
      5. Listen, I'm Ready for a Story
      6. Think About Your Audience: Journalism 2.0 and the Elements of a Narrative
      7. Narrative Map (De)constructed
      8. Seeing and Hearing Is Believing: The Story of the Evolution of Commerce
      9. Notes
    4. Chapter 8: Talk It: Controlled Conversations and TALC Tracks
      1. Risky Business Trip
      2. Controlled Conversations Are a Game of Tennis, Not Golf
      3. TALC Tracks—A Structure for Balance and Brevity
      4. Be Prepared for Anything
      5. Audience, Audience, Audience
    5. Chapter 9: Show It: Powerful Ways to Make a Picture Exceed a Thousand Words
      1. Show-and-Tell: Which Would You Choose?
      2. You Can See the Shift
      3. Seeing Supersedes Reading
      4. A Visual Language
      5. Connect an Image with Your Story
      6. Momentary Magic: Infographics in Business
      7. Breakdown of Complex Information
      8. The Age of YouTube and Business
      9. TL; DR: Too Long; Didn't Read
      10. Notes
    6. Chapter 10: Putting Brevity to Work: Grainger and the Al and Betty Story
      1. Notes
  10. Part Three: Decisiveness: Gaining the Decisiveness to Know When and Where to Be Brief
    1. Chapter 11: Meeting You Halfway
      1. Defeat the Villains of Meetings
      2. Meeting Villain #1: Time
      3. Meeting Villain #2: Type
      4. Meeting Villain #3: Tyrants
      5. Change the Format and Tone—Make It a Conversation
      6. Put BRIEF Back into a Briefing
      7. Notes
    2. Chapter 12: Leaving a Smaller Digital Imprint
      1. The Digital Flood
      2. BRIEF Hall of Fame: Verne Harnish
      3. From Social Media to Venture Capital
      4. Social Media Squeeze
      5. Notes
    3. Chapter 13: Presenting a Briefer Case
      1. Practicing What You Preach
      2. The Discipline of Brevity
      3. Putting the Power Back in PowerPoint
      4. Training as a TED Talk
    4. Chapter 14: Trimming Your Sales (Pitch)
      1. Shut Up and Sell
      2. Billboard on a Bumper Sticker
      3. Time to Be Convincing and Concise
      4. Cut to the Customer's Chase
    5. Chapter 15: Whose Bright Idea Was That Anyway?
      1. Your Big Idea
      2. A Mission-Critical Narrative
      3. Clear Picture with Radical Focus
      4. The Entrepreneur's Dilemma: Mixed Messages
      5. Tailor Your Pitch to Your Investor's Needs
    6. Chapter 16: It's Never Really Small Talk
      1. Brevity as a Conversational Life Raft
      2. Momentary Misgivings Stall Momentum
      3. Walk the Walk; Talk the Talk
    7. Chapter 17: Help Wanted: Master of Brevity
      1. Not the Time for Anxious Rambling
      2. Let Others Lead the Conversation
      3. Talking Your Way out of a Job Offer
      4. For the Candidate:
      5. For the Interviewer:
    8. Chapter 18: I've Got Some Good News
      1. Pay the Favor of Brevity Forward
      2. Let the Brilliance Shine Through
      3. Speak the Language of Success
      4. Get into the Habit of Saying, “Thank You”
    9. Chapter 19: And the Bad News Is…
      1. The Bright (and Brief) Side of Bearing Bad News
      2. Give It to Them Straight
      3. Serving up the S#&$ Sandwich
    10. Chapter 20: Got-a-Minute Updates
      1. The “Say-Do” Ratio
      2. Be Prepared to Be Lean and Drive Out Wasteful Words
      3. The Most Important Question: Why Am I Here?
  11. Part Four: Being BRIEF Summary and Action Plan
  12. Resources
  13. About the Author
  14. Index