My German father-in-law handed me a book from the 70s called (translated from the German):
'Shorter, More to the Point, More Precise: The New Communication Style of the Modern Leader.'
(Kind of a longish title for a book on communication brevity but it's shorter in German.)
The introduction reads as follows:
''Information was never so important. We live in complicated systems held together by an information net. Distance is irrelevant. People exchange information, sometimes over telephone or Internet, or even on paper. The volume of communication is growing: meetings, memos, messages, notes, emails. We need a new communication style that is shorter, more to the point, more precise. We need a new definition of courtesy that takes other people's time into account."
Two things occurred to me as I read this:
1) The Germans are sometimes considered rude for their curt, direct communication style. Even I think so and I'm used to them. Still....
2) Think of the time that could be saved if people would say what they have to say and be done with it!
Do we create more work for ourselves with unnecesary verbal embellishments and waffling? Can we learn to live without them or are we too sensitive, too fragile, too ready to take offense?
I'm not denying the importance of polite communication in business and social interactions, I'm just not sure what that actually means.
Therefore, for the next month I resolve not to take offense when someone speaks or writes to me bluntly... as long as they keep it short.
*Picture courtesy of Chris Wolf.