Wednesday

Great Leaders are Short

Really effective leaders "get" the idea of short. No, not the kind of short as in a Napoleon complex.

Rather, effective leaders deeply understand that time is in short supply for everyone. 

In an age of Twitter, few people have the time or mindset to read lengthy emails or listen to a voice-mail that is five minutes long, or hear an update that rambles and just goes on and on.

SHORTER IS BETTER

Effective leaders at any level can "up" their executive presence by delivering almost all forms of communication in a shorter manner.  Of course, there are always exceptions, but in general, you might consider the following guidelines:

1. Voice-mails.  Aim for 30 to 60-seconds. If it takes longer to deliver than one minute, perhaps the message really needs to be delivered in a live call or face-to-face.
2. Emails. One to two brief paragraphs. If you need to go slightly over, then use 3 or 4 bullets. Again, if it takes longer to compose, then perhaps email is not the best vehicle.
3. Presentations. Twenty minutes. Shorter is definitely better when presenting a slide deck. Audience attention and retention drops off after twenty minutes.

A very good brand to cultivate as a leader is someone who is to-the-point, concise and no nonsense.

So, as Napoleon, Toulouse Lautrec, and Danny DeVito all know,  sometimes being short has a definite up side!