If Commandment One was Thou Shalt Not Be Vague (C1: seek to clarify your ideas before communicating), then Commandment Two (C2) is close on the heels with Thou Shalt Be Focused. This is the action of examining the true purpose of what we are saying and being clear about what we want to accomplish.
I have to be very conscious about this very thing or else I would sit down and write an epic post about all of the Commandments at once!
The lesson is that we will get more out of the communication if it is succinct and our call to action is clear. My call to action for you is to combine the first two Commandments as you prepare for your next email, presentation or difficult conversation. Take the time to determine what is important for the person(s) to know (C1), add only the least amount of prose so as to illustrate the point and be clear about what you need them to do with the information (C2).
Here is the complexity: Consider your audience and adapt accordingly. If you know that the other person in the conversation is Direct then you will want to be super succinct and think “bottom line” as you prepare. The person may be very social or enthusiastically influential and you will want to have an enthusiastic tone and show as much optimism as possible. Perhaps the person is more reflective and likes to be behind the scenes – be respectful of their caution and not push for answers or decisions on the spot. Now maybe you have a very data conscious person – that will be your indicator to provide extra detail, maybe as an addendum, just make sure you are logical and prepared with facts.
We are human and we have human reactions to the information we receive. Anticipate your audience to adjust appropriately. The more mindful you can be, the better the result.
To learn more about how to identify your audience and adapt accordingly, you can explore the world of DiSC. I am a passionate (and certified) DiSC facilitator. My love of the tools is the immediate results in self-awareness and communication skills. Learn more here.