Bosses Don’t Give Gold Stars: Get to the Point
Over the years, I’ve learned many valuable on-the-job lessons, lessons that were amplified once I became a believing Christian. One important principle for on-the-job success is “Get to the point.”
One of my first jobs was working for a Fortune 50 company in their Washington, D.C., public relations office. I was at the bottom of the food chain; I was clueless about the importance of hierarchy, and I had no idea that my only role was to shut up and listen.
My boss’ boss was the executive vice-president of communications, a direct report to the CEO. Our division had an unusually short chain of command in that large multinational company, all of which set me up for being at a dinner on a business trip with my boss and his boss where I showed my immaturity by talking too much. I didn’t pick up on any of the signals until the EVP made it really clear what I was supposed to do. Turning to me, he cut me off mid-anecdote by saying, “Would you shut the (bleep) up?”
Here’s an important insight for women, a tip that will make you far more effective in all your interactions with men, both in your romantic relationships and on the job: Get to the point. Nearly all of your communications will benefit from getting to your point quickly. Your listeners can always ask for more details if they are interested, but if you frontload your conversation with too many details, you will generally incite frustration and impatience.
In her book For Women Only in the Workplace, Shaunti Feldhahn writes: “The way many of the men I interviewed described it, they prefer the conclusion or the bottom line up front because it helps them listen. Without it, they find it more difficult to absorb the information. One executive explained, ‘There’s something about a male brain that wants the end of the story so he knows why he’s listening.’”
While this might be a masculine tendency, in my observation it serves busy people of both genders. Time is the most precious commodity in the workforce because it’s the only resource you can’t renew. Profits can be restored, people can be replaced, but the passing of time is relentless.
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