Canadian Lawyer

September 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 46 of 51 45 sleep better, work smarter and think healthier. I also take a "digital sabbath" away from all forms of technology every Saturday and an entire "think week" away from my company. One thing's for sure: It makes my Monday mornings feel a whole lot better. Less over-explaining In the middle of a lengthy email or a long meeting, I often find myself wishing that people would just get to the point. Often, the person who needs to get to the point is me. We're conditioned to sugarcoat difficult conversations with mindless pleasantries. We believe lengthy explanations showcase our authority. From university dissertations to blog posts, we value word counts over clarity. And often, we simply under-prepare for situ- ations, which means we often end up talking or writing more than is necessary. This leads to two-hour meetings that could be over in 20 minutes; page-long emails with a couple of lines of real content; articles aban- doned halfway through; and, most import- antly, loss of focus from everyone involved. The human brain can absorb 750 words a minute, but the average person can only speak about 150 words a minute, meaning there are an extra 600 words that can float around in the receiver's brain. That's how people talk themselves out of a sale, an argu- ment or a business deal. "Brevity is an essential skill that can propel people's careers in an age where the people that they're talking to are overwhelmed," says Joseph McCormack, author of BRIEF: Making a Bigger Impact by Saying Less. It all boils down to smart preparation. McCormack suggests making a mind map with the acronym BRIEF to organize ideas before presenting them. Background: Provide a quick context — what prompted the update?

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