Leaders and Parents: Can Less Be More?

Leaders and Parents: Can Less Be More?
As it turns out, yes, less can be more when it comes to impact, especially with our words.

Scene 1: A friend of mine was recently telling me about a life changing publication. He was telling me about a report that had been published on the regulation of the sale of cabbage! I don’t know why he felt I needed this information but as it turns out, I did. He told me the publication had over 25,000 words.

To give you a picture a 25,000 word report double spaced on a standard 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper would equal an 84 page book. I don’t know if his story was true or urban legend but it did get me thinking about my own communication both written and verbal.

Scene 2: Last month my son Alec and I were in Washington DC for a speaking engagement. While there we visited a couple of museums and the Lincoln memorial. While the statue of Lincoln is the focal point two of his speeches are inscribed on the walls of the memorial. His second inaugural address is on the wall of the north chamber and the Gettysburg address is on the wall of the south chamber.

Alec and I read both speeches and what really caught my attention was how Lincoln used his words. He was an artist skillfully painting leadership with what he said. When we left I felt like I had read a book of leadership knowledge but what I read was 272 words.

That’s right, 272 words for the Gettysburg address. That’s a far cry from 25,000 about cabbage but more was said in 272 words than I’m sure was said in 25,000. It wasn’t a long speech but it was loaded with empathy, passion and leadership.

Consider these three thoughts.

1. If you can say it in five minutes don’t use twenty five.

2. If you can write it in a sentence don’t use a paragraph.

3. Don’t use 25,000 words when 272 well thought out words will do.

If you are trying to sell cabbage. Keep on talking. If you are trying to make a difference then consider the possibility of less words, more impact. (This Blog post, 407 Words.)

1. As a leader how could “less words, more impact” make a difference in your day?
2. How could you apply this concept as a parent?

Photo Attribution: Photo courtesy of http://www.55his.com/