Say More with Less: How to Speak More Concisely

May 10, 2023

6 min read

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Do you ever find yourself rambling on during a conversation or struggling to get your point across clearly and succinctly? Whether you’re in a business meeting, job interview, or casual conversation, the ability to speak more concisely is a valuable skill. In this article, we’ll explore why people struggle to speak clearly and offer practical tips and exercises for training yourself to communicate more effectively.

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

This quote is a famous line from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It means that being brief and concise in communication is not only efficient but also effective. Wit, or humor and intelligence, is often more impactful when delivered succinctly. This quote reminds us that our words should carry weight and purpose, rather than being long-winded and verbose. In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to communicate concisely is more important than ever. It allows us to convey our ideas quickly and clearly, making our messages more memorable and impactful.

Speaking concisely is important for a variety of reasons in your professional and personal life. First, it helps to ensure that your message is clear and easily understood by your audience. When you are concise in your communication, you are more likely to get your point across effectively and efficiently. This is particularly important in professional settings, where time is often limited and you need to convey important information quickly. Additionally, speaking concisely can help to build your credibility as a speaker. If you are able to get your message across in a clear and concise manner, you are more likely to be perceived as knowledgeable and confident. Finally, speaking concisely can help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications in your personal relationships. When you are clear and direct in your communication, there is less room for confusion or interpretation.

In this article, we’ll give you practical strategies you can use to speak more concisely.

Why Do People Struggle to Speak Clearly?

There are a variety of reasons why people struggle to speak more concisely. For some, it may be a lack of confidence or fear of being misunderstood. Others may simply enjoy hearing themselves talk or feel the need to fill silence. Additionally, distractions, nerves, and poor listening skills can all contribute to unclear communication.

Regardless of the reason, the key to speaking more concisely is to focus on your message and eliminate unnecessary words or phrases that detract from your point. By doing so, you’ll not only improve your communication skills but also save time and avoid confusion.

How to Train Yourself to Speak More Concisely

Like any skill, speaking concisely can be trained and developed with practice. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Identify your message before speaking

Before you begin speaking, take a moment to identify the key message you want to convey. What is the main point you want to get across? What supporting details are necessary? By organizing your thoughts beforehand, you’ll be better equipped to communicate your message clearly and efficiently.

2. Use simple, direct language

Avoid using complex or technical language when communicating with others, especially if they may not be familiar with the topic at hand. Instead, opt for simple, direct language that is easy to understand. Use active verbs and avoid using unnecessary adjectives or adverbs.

3. Practice active listening

Effective communication is a two-way street, so it’s important to practice active listening as well as speaking concisely. When speaking with others, listen attentively and ask questions to ensure you fully understand their message. By doing so, you’ll be better able to respond in a clear and concise manner.

4. Pause and reflect

If you feel yourself starting to ramble or lose focus, take a moment to pause and reflect on your message. Are you staying on topic? Are you communicating your message clearly? By taking a brief pause, you can refocus your thoughts and continue speaking in a clear and concise manner.

Exercises for Speaking Concisely

Learn how to speak more concisely with these exercises.
Build your concise communicator muscles with public speaking exercises and games.

Exercises are a great way to train yourself to speak more concisely. Here are a few exercises and games you can practice to become better at speaking concisely:

  1. Use the elevator pitch technique: Imagine you have just a few seconds to explain an idea or concept to someone in an elevator. Practice summarizing your thoughts in a concise manner without losing the key message. For example, take a news article or a paragraph from a book and try to summarize it in one sentence.
  2. Eliminate filler words: Filler words such as “um,” “ah,” and “like” can make you sound unsure and unconfident. Record yourself speaking and try to eliminate these filler words from your speech.
  3. Try online public speaking games: Yoodli has several fun, free virtual games to help you improve your public speaking skills and become a more confident communicator. In No Filler, you have a few seconds to answer unique, AI-generated open-ended questions like “what’s your favorite family tradition?” or “what do dogs say to each other when they’re barking?” using as few filler words as possible. You can compete and share your score with friends or colleagues or just compete against yourself. In Metaphor Mania, you have only a few seconds to connect two seemingly unrelated things: “A is like B because…” This is a fun game that makes you think creatively; it’s a great way to practice expressing yourself concisely without the stress of speaking to an audience.
  4. Practice speaking slower: When we speak too quickly, we tend to ramble and lose focus. Slow down your speech and give yourself time to think before speaking. Yoodli’s Individual Mode, or Private Yoodli, gives you free AI-powered speech coaching and can track not only your filler words, talk time, and eye contact, but your pacing. Getting feedback on your pacing after every virtual meeting can help you practice slowing down your pace. With Private Yoodli, you can quantify your progress on your path to becoming a more concise communicator.
Try Yoodli’s games No Filler and Metaphor Mania to practice speaking more concisely.

By incorporating these exercises into your daily routine, you can improve your ability to speak more concisely and effectively communicate your ideas.

How to Speak More Concisely: In Summary

Learning how to speak more concisely is an essential skill that can benefit you both personally and professionally. Whether you’re trying to communicate your ideas more effectively in a meeting, make a persuasive pitch to a potential client, or simply have more meaningful conversations with friends and family, the ability to speak concisely can help you achieve your goals. By understanding the root causes of rambling and practicing specific techniques to improve your speaking skills, you can train yourself to communicate more clearly, confidently, and succinctly. So the next time you find yourself struggling to get your point across, remember these tips and put them into practice. With patience and persistence, you’ll be able to master the art of speaking more concisely and become a more effective communicator in all areas of your life.


Q: Is it possible to speak too concisely?

A: Yes, it is possible to go too far and become overly abrupt or even rude. It’s important to strike a balance between being concise and being respectful in your communication.

Q: Can speaking more concisely help me in my professional life?

A: Absolutely! In many industries, clear and efficient communication is highly valued. Speaking more concisely can help you get your point across more effectively, save time in meetings, and leave a positive impression on colleagues and clients.

Q: Can practicing speaking concisely help with public speaking?

A: Yes, practicing speaking concisely can be incredibly helpful for public speaking. By being more deliberate with your language and cutting out unnecessary filler words, you can make your points more clearly and effectively.

Q: How long does it take to improve my ability to speak more concisely?

A: Like any skill, it varies from person to person. However, with consistent practice and dedication, you can start seeing improvement within a few weeks to a few months. Remember to be patient with yourself and keep practicing!


Start practicing with Yoodli.

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