Solving the Blabbing Leader Problem

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In hectic environments brevity is power. People tune out when you blab on.

Successful leaders demand brevity.

Joe McCormack

3 reasons brevity is vital:

  1. Focus lasts about 10 seconds.
  2. We listen 4X faster than others speak.
  3. Interruptions occur every 8 minutes, on average.

Brevity is a gift.

*7 reasons brevity is rare:

  1. Cowardice. You hide behind meaningless words and don’t have the guts to take a stand.
  2. Confidence. You are a know-it-all who can’t stop talking.
  3. Callousness. You are selfish and don’t respect people’s time.
  4. Comfort. You let yourself go on and on with people you know.
  5. Confusion. You think out loud when you should have thought in private.
  6. Complication. You believe this issue can’t be symplified.
  7. Carelessness. You are verbally lazy.

*From, “Brief

Fear and brevity:

Fear inspires babbling.

Fearful leaders stick their tongue in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. The result, they blather on and on without saying anything.

Stop winning people to your position, before explaining your position.

Organizations lose when fear controls you. Worse yet, fulfillment drops when you lose yourself to self-protection.

10 Ways to find courageous brevity:

  1. Ask people for conclusions before explanations.
  2. Honor brevity when you see it. You get what you honor.
  3. Explain and train brevity. If you want brevity, start talking about it.
  4. Standardize communication patterns. “We shoot for no more than five-lines in emails,” for example.
  5. Be brief yourself.
  6. Ask, “What would you like me to do,” at the beginning of conversations.
  7. Be brief and ask for questions. Talk about what matters to others.
  8. Realize that game-playing and manipulation thrive in fearful environments.
  9. Delete the first few lines or paragraphs, when writing.
  10. Tell stories from the middle. (Love this one, Joe. Thanks.)


Brevity that creates confusion is too brief. Aim for brevity that’s clear and compelling.

Where could brevity be useful in your organization?

How can leaders develop the skill of brevity in themselves and others?