The Power of Brevity

Sometimes we talk too much. By over-explaining we not only lose people’s attention, but their trust and respect. Usually, by the time a person says, “Well, to make a long story short,” it’s too late.


Brevity leaves room for others. Good communication is two-way, always!  Conversations should never be dominated by one person. We need to genuinely listen in order to genuinely respond, not just waiting for a chance to speak.

Brevity shows social awareness. Some people go on and on, completely oblivious to how they come across. Trust me, you like to hear yourself talk more than others do. Brevity is simply good manners.

Brevity is also respectful. Talking takes people’s time. People rarely complain about things being too short. Be considerate of the other’s time by being briefer in meetings, presentations, and even on social media.

Brevity persuades. We mistake more words for more influence. Just the opposite is true. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is only 272 words. The Lord’s Prayer is 66 words. Keeping things short sticks.

“Quidquid praecipies, esto brevis.”
― Horace, Arte poética

(Whatever advice you give, be brief.)


Today’s blog is brief! I’d love to hear from you. Do you tend to be long-winded? How can you be briefer in communicating with others?


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ken Baker says:

    Well said. I love the use of Latin.
    Tell Nancy I am adding that quote to my list of axioms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill Vermillion says:

    I second Ken’s comment about the Latin. 🙂 I find that it much more difficult to express yourself briefly which is why i concentrate on having students do 2-3 page papers. You can always expand. Overseas when i preach 20 -30 minute sermons with translation i am often critiqued that it was too short but the main thing was did it communicate and based on responses, yes. 🙂


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