By Ashley Snodgrass, Executive Account Manager
I’m the first to say I can be a little long winded. I’ve made many efforts over the last few years to try to be more succinct, but it is quite challenging. Because of this self-criticism, I am envious of others who are able to convey their message concisely. I’m reminded of an episode of The Office when one well-meaning accountant feels as if he wastes time by using too many words, so he tries to cut down on unnecessary words in a sentence, by saying things like, “Me think, why waste time say lot word, when few word do trick?” or “Many small time make big time”. This is not the linguistic brevity to which I aspire.
I recently read an article on emotional intelligence that highlighted this concept. The author of the article shares how Apple CEO Tim Cook’s took action on a complaint email in a way that was unique to top business leaders. An Apple user wrote to Tim Cook with some feedback, and Tim Cook forwarded the email to the top executive team, with the simple phrase, “Thoughts?”
This is the most direct way to illicit feedback from your team. Tim Cook could have added his opinions, berated the email-writer, or otherwise indicated his opinion on the complaint. Instead, by requesting the feedback from other executives, he is able to gather feedback without overcasting his bias. To me this email is a lesson, not only in emotional intelligence, but also in simplicity and confidence. There is no need for phrase inflation. There is only the need for concision.
I will end this with another brief mention of the scene from The Office. One character asks the accountant what he will be able to do with all his extra time. He says, “See world.” Me think good idea.