The Art of Concise Conversations

Stick to the Point – Humanely

Keep conversation simple and focused.

© iStockphoto

Does this sound familiar? One of your colleagues phones you for advice about her project. However, instead of getting right to the point, she spends 20 minutes telling you about her son's latest baseball game, your boss's recent promotion, and the office manager's new shoes.

Or even worse, there's your co-worker who makes a point, and then spends the next half hour saying it over and over in several different ways – or he keeps going over the same conclusions you've both already agreed on. It seems like your clothes will go out of style before the conversation ends.

Have you been in situations like these? The business world (and the world in general) is filled with people who don't seem to know how to stick to the subject. This not only affects your working relationships, it can also waste a lot of your time. However, it's important to build relationships with your colleagues. A lot of this happens in unstructured conversations – the same conversations that may be considered "time wasters."

So how do you find the right balance? How can you have productive conversations, and still leave room to have a little fun and establish relationships with your co-workers and clients? 

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