Brief Book Summary By Joseph McCormack

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Brief (2014) is a book that explores the power of brevity in our information-driven world.

It examines the roadblocks to being brief, and it provides helpful advice on how to improve your communication while taking into account your own time and that of others.

With this book, the reader will gain invaluable insight into why brevity is important, as well as practical strategies on how to make concise statements that have more impact and influence.

Brief Book Summary

Book Name: Brief (Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less)

Author(s): Joseph McCormack

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 15 Minutes

Categories: Communication Skills

Author Bio

Joseph McCormack is a renowned author and expert on corporate storytelling and communicating effectively with narrative.

He has extensive experience in the field, having provided communications advice to military personnel as well as corporate executives from leading companies such as SAP, MasterCard and Harley-Davidson.

With his vast wealth of knowledge in this particular area, Joseph's books are sure to guide readers in the way of successful story-telling.

Why We Struggle To Be Succinct In Our Communication And How To Change That


Have you ever been in a conversation that just seems to go on and on? It’s not just annoying – it can actually be detrimental to your productivity, relationships, and well-being.

But why is it so hard for us to be brief and get to the point when we talk? There are a lot of different reasons why people struggle with communicating succinctly and effectively.

This section explains all of these underlying causes, like how the average worker gets distracted multiple times per day, or how Steve Jobs was able to master the art of telling stories through quick snippets.

And let’s not forget about brevity in small talk – something which many people often overlook!

By understanding these root causes – and learning what you can do to counter each one – you’ll become known as the concise and business-like person in any office or social setting.

So find out why you may have spent too long talking about something …

by reading this book summary!

It’S Hard To Get People’S Attention Because We’Re Drowning In Information And Have Limited Mental Capacity

In today’s busy and distracted world, it can be difficult to grab people’s attention and make your point quickly.

Everyone is bombarded with information so nobody has the capacity to take it all in – this makes it even harder to stand out among the crowd.

Add to that the fact that people are constantly checking their phones, emails, and other sources of data – which means they’re interrupted every 8 minutes.

This shortened attention span suggests that presentations need to be streamlined in order for audiences to stay focused.

Therefore, if you want to get heard in today’s distracting world then you need to make your point quickly.

Use headline type language which will capture your listener’s attention right away as opposed to talking around the topic or slowly building up info.

Doing this could mean the difference between keeping an audience interested or them wandering off mid-presentations and costing you not only people but money and respect.

Cutting straight to the chase might just be what is needed for a successful outcome both for yourself, your ideas, and business objectives!

Four Strategies To Help You Stay Brief & Respectful When Speaking

Stay Brief & Respectful When Speaking

When it comes to brevity, we often struggle to keep our word in part because of subconscious obstacles.

For example, if someone believes themselves to be an expert on something then their explanation may get stuck on technicalities and become too detailed.

And if a person is comfortable with their company, they could end up talking for too long.

On the other hand, when someone isn’t sure of how to explain something or hasn’t organized their thoughts before speaking they can get tangled up in what they’re trying to say – resulting in confused and complicated messages that others are unlikely to understand.

Lastly, while some people think that certain concepts just can’t be simplified without sacrificing meaning, sticking with overly-detailed explanatinses risks losing your audience’s patience as well as their trust.

It’s clear that conquering these deep-rooted unconscious issues is essential for any successful attempt at brevity.

That’s why it’s important to learn techniques and strategies like organization, conscious self-discipline, being aware of your level of expertise or comfortability and even simplifying complex ideas.

How To Use Brief Mind Maps For Clear And Informed Presentations

If you want to simplify your ideas and make sure that the information you present is crystal clear, you should use BRIEF mind maps.

These are visual outlines designed to help organize your thoughts around a central topic.

They work by breaking up information into easily digestible sections, such as Background, Reasons or Relevance, Information for inclusion, Ending and expecting Follow-up questions.

By taking the time to draw out your BRIEF mind map before your presentation, you can ensure that you don’t leave any crucial details out and make sure that your audience has a good understanding of what’s being presented.

For example: if you were updating someone on a project timeline, start with the important background info before outlining the relevant details such as anticipated cost and timeline.

Then provide relevant context to explain why this conversation is happening – e.g., plans have changed so additional resources are needed for staying on track.

Follow up with key points of what exactly is proposed – i.e., investing $5,000 may lead to an early completion of the project – and ending by summarizing what was said and outlining the next steps in the plan.

Finally, consider any potential questions your audience may have about the matter for better comprehension.

Using Visuals To Communicate Ideas Quickly And Effectively

Want to make your message stand out and be remembered? With the power of pictures, you can showcase your ideas in a way that is sure to grab people’s attention.

Recent studies have shown that 65 percent of the population are visual learners and remember 80 percent of what they see, compared to only 30 percent of what they read or 10 percent of what they hear.

USA Today founder Al Neuharth turned heads when he revamped his newspaper by using visuals and shorter stories instead of longer articles.

To do the same, use infographics, videos, graphs, charts illustrations and animations–anything with a visual component–and communicate six times more effectively than words alone.

Make sure you get creative with your visuals so your audience can easily understand the message you’re sending; after all, nothing screams “idea overload” like long-winded content!

With pictures as your vehicle, pop in an idea and watch it come alive with clarity and personality–making it one memorable journey!

Using The Narrative Map Technique To Tell Strategic And Compelling Stories

Narrative Map Technique

If you want your audience to really connect with your message, it’s time to leave the corporate-speak in the boardroom and focus on telling an engaging story.

Utilizing narrative mapping can help you capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested.

Narrative maps are a simple way to structure your story around a central point.

All you need to do is create a map with five elements: challenge, opportunity, approach, payoff, and central point.

Start by writing down the central point then fill in each respective aspect working clockwise from twelve o’clock.

A great example of this is Steve Job’s presentation on his iconic iPhone, in which he explained all about the current smartphones were not intuitively user-friendly and how the Apple product would make an enormous impact..

In job’s narrative map the challenge was that smartphones were not intuitively smart enough—the opportunity arising from this challenge was to build a phone that was both smarter and easier to use than any other; followed by the proposed approach was to design a user-friendly device that allowed users to surf online, call comfortably while listening music; Additionally, the payoff showcases how Apple solved the problem—by creating an earth shattering revolutionary product – The iPhone!

The Key To Meaningful Conversations: The Talc Method Of Talk, Active Listening And Converse

If you want to have a meaningful and controlled conversation, you’ll need to learn how to talk about what matters instead of simply talking for the sake of talking.

To do this, you’ll have to employ active listening and ask thoughtful, intentional questions.

Through these steps, you can begin turning even lengthy monologue conversations into ones that are more controlled and balanced.

The TALC method is a great way to stick with the topic of conversation and give you the tools necessary for making it successful.

The acronym stands for Talk, Active Listening and Converse – an effective technique for keeping your ideas in line with those of your partner’s so as to take conversations in interesting directions.

To make use of this technique, start by letting your partner express themselves before responding with a clear point when they’re done speaking.

As they talk, actively listen by giving them your full attention without multitasking or doing anything else that would distract from the conversation.

Listen closely while they speak and search out any keywords or facts that will guide you in responding appropriately so as to understand their values better.

Stick to building up single conversations rather than introducing new topics that take the conversation away from its main focus.

Additionally, keep your responses brief and be mindful when it’s time to stop speaking so as not to repeat yourself or extend too far into other topics not related heretofore.

Respect Others By Being Brief: The Art Of Good Manners

Good Manners

As they say, brevity is the soul of wit.

When you’re communicating with others, being brief demonstrates to them that you respect their time.

Whether it’s in meetings, presentations, on social media, or during casual conversations – being brief is key to being polite and considerate.

At the office, meetings and presentations can be a huge time sink.

To stay on track and communicate your message effectively while respecting people’s time, mind the time limits you set on meetings and keep your presentations concise.

For example, have a timer projected on the conference room wall so that everyone is conscious of how much meeting time has elapsed or start off by asking “Why?” this identifies the purpose from the start and helps tackle pressing issues first rather than saving them for the end.

On social media – post briefs!

Limiting your posts length to about 80 characters enables focused communication about what matters most without wasting other’s time.

Don’t forget visuals either – they’re 5x more engaging than plain text alone!

Wrap Up

The final takeaway from this book is clear: be brief when communicating.

Improving your communication skills means understanding the subconscious factors that lead to explanations getting dragged out and learning the art of storytelling.

Practice strategies for planning presentations and remember that your boss isn’t looking for details, they just want to know what progress you’ve made and what accomplishments you’ve achieved.

Most importantly, be prepared to answer their seemingly daily “How’s it going?” with a quick, concise summary or “nothing new” if needed.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to improving your communication skills.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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