Bacal's Briefs: Often the less we say the better our points will be understood
What is the "less is more" principle of effective communication?
In informal speech and communication, people have a tendency to talk, and talk, often is a slightly disorganized fashion, since informal speech is not the kind of thing you can plan out. It may surprise you to know that in both informal and formal speech (including presentations, speeches), people listening to you will tend to understand your points -- your intent and message -- far better if you talk less, and provide less detail.
There are a number of reasons why this is so, but here's the most important one. When you talk, the other person has to try to figure out your main points, or main messages, and this applies in all communication efforts. When you bury, or surround your main points or messages with too much "other messages", the impact of your target messages get lost. The people listening get distracted or simply focus on the things that are less important (at least to you).
Think about a one to one conversation with your spouse. How often do you offer your main point or message, but include other sub-messages? How often does your spouse then focus on one of the minor sub-messages, and appear to completely miss the point you were really trying to make. Happens all the time.
Bacal's Briefs is a series of short articles on a single standalone topic. They are based on longer articles, or the Frequently Asked Questions sections of my websites. Look for my underwear. I promise it's clean.
For more on interpersonal and organizational communication check out my specialized site: The Communication Resource Center