"Describe yourself," one CEO asks job applicants, "in 3 words or less."
What would you say? Probably not, "I'm wordy and verbose. Also repetitive."
On the other hand, the U.S. President just hired a new Secretary of State whom he regards, at times, as "long-winded" (NY Times, 12/16/12).
But I don't think that's what clinched the job for the new Secretary, unless, one day, after listening to him ramble on and on, the President got desperate.
"This fellow talks too much," the President may have concluded. "Obviously, the only thing to do is hire him, and then, immediately send him to 112 different countries."
How focused are you?
"You seem to have 29 ideas at once," an exec. told one of his managers. "And I feel like I'm hearing them all, right this minute."
Ever gotten feedback like that?
Sometimes, we get mired in details. "You wouldn't believe what happened to me last Thursday," we say—"no wait, it was Wednesday. Actually, now that I think about it—this thing I'm about to tell you—it didn't really happen at all. I dreamt it. Last Monday."
I work with several companies where executives, after taking a communication assessment, will gladly tell you their preferred style. Each style has its own color.
Let's say you walk into an office and see the color red. That means, in essence, "Get to the point. Then get out."
But most execs aren't that direct.
Your boss probably hasn't asked you to say it in 3 words or less, or given you feedback about your 29 ideas, or flashed the color red in your face.
Maybe she hasn't said a thing about valuing conciseness.
Tip: Assume it.
© Copyright 2013 Paul Hellman. All rights reserved.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.