Get All Access for $5/mo

Do You Talk Too Much? You Need Brevity — Here are 6 Communication Strategies to Avoid Over-Talking Time is the most precious resource for an entrepreneur, as every moment is an opportunity to innovate, strategize and drive their business toward success. Don't waste another person's time because you don't have brevity.

By Roxanne Klein Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • For most entrepreneurs, time is money. When you ramble about details that do not pertain to the subject matter, you take precious time away from others.
  • Remember to always be respectful of other's time.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Effective communication is essential to business success. As a business owner, your ability to convey your thoughts clearly and concisely can make or break deals, collaborations and relationships. One common pitfall many fall into is "nibbling" — the habit of over-explaining, asking unnecessary questions and failing to get to the point quickly.

I have nibbling tendencies. If you do as well, this article will explore strategies to help you avoid nibbling and become a more efficient and respected communicator.

Related: How Talking Too Much in Class Turned Into My Greatest Asset

The power of brevity

Imagine this scenario: You're meeting with potential investors eager to present your groundbreaking business idea. However, instead of diving into the core of your proposal, you spend the first fifteen minutes sharing unnecessary details about the origins of your company. This is a classic example of nibbling, veering off track and failing to reach the point.

For most entrepreneurs, time is money. When you ramble about details that do not pertain to the subject matter, you take precious time away from others. Remember to present your ideas, comments, or concerns concisely.

Related: How Talking Less Could Land You Your Next 6-Figure Job

1. Prepare for in-person or over-the-phone communication

Before in-person or over-the-phone communications, write down the main points you want to convey. If you are chairing a meeting, always have an agenda. If it is not a formal meeting, but you still have several items to discuss, I always recommend writing down your main discussion topics before approaching the person you will be communicating with.

By doing so, you will help yourself stay on track. If you need to tell a back story to get your point across, comment that the back story is necessary in advance to the person or group you are speaking with. That way, whomever you communicate with will understand that you share critical information. I recommend scheduling calendar time before meetings to plan your agenda and the items you need to discuss.

2. Choose your questions carefully

A nibbler's common habit is to ask a question differently to achieve a different answer. Although this tactic can be effective in sales, if your goal is not to sell but to communicate, you need to accept the responses you receive from others. Additionally, if you have already decided on something, it is not a good idea to ask others the question to try to validate your own decision. You are not only wasting the time of your colleagues but also damaging trust and credibility.

3. Try to answer your own questions

Let's say you have an issue with your computer, and a person in your office is good with technology. Try to find out the answer first online before asking for help. This approach demonstrates to others that you only ask questions when necessary.

Related: How to Ask the Right Question in the Right Way

4. Be a patient listener

Effective communication is a two-way street. Allowing your counterpart to respond is vital. Never interrupt someone mid-answer with more questions. It disrupts the flow and conveys that you're more interested in your agenda than their input.

Let the other person fully answer when you ask a question before moving on to the next question. Doing so shows your respect for their perspective and encourages more comprehensive responses. Remember, conversations are about building connections and furthering relationships

Related: Become a Fantastic Listener With These 9 Techniques

5. The importance of email

Whenever possible, use email. Although it can be tempting to go into someone's office and ask a question you feel is vital, remember to respect your colleagues' space. No one likes to be interrupted, especially for matters that are not urgent. If you do not need an answer at a particular moment, always use email. Plus, having the dialogue in email makes it easy for you to review in the future.

You are more likely to get to the point immediately and include only the necessary details in emails. Emails discourage on-the-fly nibbling during impromptu conversations, as you've already collected your thoughts in written form.

Of course, there are situations where an immediate response is critical, and in those cases, a phone call or face-to-face conversation may be warranted. However, by embracing email efficiency, you reduce the likelihood of falling into the trap of unnecessary nibbling during impromptu interactions.

Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Email Etiquette

6. Shift in mindset

A conscious awareness of your communication patterns can be an excellent first step to breaking free from the nibbling habit. Always strive for clarity, respect, and efficiency. Being a non-nibbler isn't about rushing through conversations. It is about delivering your message effectively, asking purposeful questions, and genuinely engaging with others. By honing these skills, you'll save valuable time, build stronger connections, and leave a lasting impression as a business owner who values meaningful dialogue.

Nibbling is a tendency I believe I have always had. Until about five years ago, when my managing broker mentioned that I was a nibbler, I had no idea I was one. I think it is easy for anyone to either be a nibbler or become one. However, if you plan ahead, remember to be respectful of other's time, and be aware if you are a nibbler, your nibbling tendencies can either disappear or significantly decrease.

Roxanne Klein

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Retail Commercial Real Estate Broker

Roxy Klein is focused on the leasing and sale of retail commercial properties in Southern California's Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley regions. Her expertise includes leasing, sales, & landlord / tenant representation. Roxy's performance on Crexi puts her in the top 1% of all users.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.

Leadership

This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.

Leadership

Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.