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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief is best, as less is more
As a lawyer, I've often had to read and write briefs. All too often, the briefs in cases are long and tedious. No wonder that courts set word limits on filings. We should keep our written submissions to a minimum, and so enhance credibility. After all, that's why they're called briefs. Joseph McCormack's book Brief makes this point about all communication. Whether...
Published 7 months ago by Dwight G. Duncan

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't bother
i will be brief: a 10 year old could have written this. You don't need to read a book about common sense. No interesting insights/techniques to be concise and savy with words just plain common sense.
Published 15 days ago by Filipebar


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief is best, as less is more, March 31, 2014
This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
As a lawyer, I've often had to read and write briefs. All too often, the briefs in cases are long and tedious. No wonder that courts set word limits on filings. We should keep our written submissions to a minimum, and so enhance credibility. After all, that's why they're called briefs. Joseph McCormack's book Brief makes this point about all communication. Whether it's business presentations, meetings, homilies, e-mails or tweets, less is often more. Captive audiences tend to be abused, after all. It's always good to leave audiences wanting more rather than less. As Samuel Johnson wrote of Milton's Paradise Lost, "None every wished it longer than it is." From his experience in the field of marketing communications, McCormack makes a compelling case for keeping it short and to the point. He urges us to meeting an increasingly ADD (attention-deficit disorder) culture with an ADD approach of Awareness, Discipline and Decisiveness: awareness of the need to be brief in our information-inundated world, discipline to be clear and concise, and decisiveness to know when and where to be brief. Long story short is to keep the long story short. Or, as one of my colleagues says about commencement addresses, follow the five B's: Be brief, baby, be brief. Thank you, Mr. McCormack!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Story Short ... You Need This Book, February 2, 2014
By 
MICHELLE O'HAGAN (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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In his book, BRIEF, Joe McCormack makes the case that the ability to be brief begins with your ability to respect your audience enough to do some serious preparation. Whether it is a dinner for two or a business presentation for hundreds, it is your responsibility to know what your audience needs and give it to them in short order.

And if you won’t do it out of the goodness of your heart, McCormack also points out that *not* being brief will cost you money, promotions, raises and the respect of friends and colleagues.

Organized in punchy chapters (some just two pages long) and peppered with sidebars and illustrations, BRIEF provides multiple entry/exit points for quick bursts of useful information.

Throughout BRIEF, McCormack provides examples of entrepreneurs, business executives and military personnel who have embraced his methodology of narrative mapping and deployed it throughout their organizations with great success. This is the beauty of BRIEF; it is scalable. No matter who you are or what you do, you’ll find something valuable here that will change the way you interact with--and are perceived by--everyone you know.

If you’re already a lean communicator, do the rest of us a favor and send BRIEF to someone who isn’t.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to unleash the power of brevity so that what you say and what you do have much greater impact, March 25, 2014
This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
I am among the staunch advocates of the Lean Six Sigma philosophy and its potentialities in terms of doing more work and doing it much better in less time and at a lower cost. What we have in this volume is what Joseph McCormack has learned about how to unleash the power of brevity so that what you say and what you do have much greater impact. In essence, he is convinced that - in countless situations, but certainly not all -- less is more. Years ago, he and his firm were retained to develop an original curriculum for U.S. Special Operations Command to improve the quality of communications. The result was a step-by-step approach to get to the point quickly.

How effective was it? After a few days, McCormack observed significant improvement: Participants "were able to leverage storytelling skills and BRIEF techniques to be clear and compelling when explaining complex missions. They delivered complicated information efficiently and effectively, with clearer context and more compelling explanations. They used fewer PowerPoint presentations. As a result, the leaders fostered better and more engaging conversations."

McCormack makes skillful use of several reader-friendly devices that include "BRIEF Bits" (memorable insights on how to be more BRIEF, each accompanied by a military figure to emphasize the importance of discipline), "BRIEF Basics" (various critical techniques that are essential to mastering Lean brevity), "Executive Attention" (vignettes about two executives and their interaction with others' inability to be BRIEF), and "Long Story Short" (essential points at the beginning and conclusion of all chapters, 1-20). These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of McCormack's coverage.

o Four Forces of Overcapacity (Pages 15-22)
o The New Reality: There's No Time for a Slow Buildup (22-24)
o The Seven Capital Sins of Verbosity (27-33)
o The Exercise of Brevity (43-44)
o BRIEF Maps: A Practical Tool for Delivering Brevity (51-52)
o Where's the Communication Disconnect? When a Story Is Missing (62-63)
o The Birth of Narrative Mapping: A Way to Organize and Deliver Your Story (64-65)
o Think About Your Audience: Journalism 2.0 and the Elements of a Narrative
o TALC [Talk, Active Listening, Converse] Tracks -- A Structure for Balance and Brevity (84-86)
o The Age of YouTube and Business (99-100)
o Mini-Case Study: W.W. Granger (105-110)
o The Discipline of Brevity (134-138)
o Cut to the Customer's Chase (149-151)
o Walk the Walk; Talk the Talk (168-171)
o Let the Brilliance Shine Through (184-186)
o The "Say-Do" Ratio (197-199)
o Being Brief: Summary and Action Plan (207-217)

Over the years, I have encountered dozens of examples of the power of brevity, an attribute that is more valuable (and more rare) today than ever before. George Bernard Shaw once apologized in a letter for its length because he had not had enough time to write a shorter one. On another occasion, someone informed him, "I walked by your house the other day." Shaw replied, "Thank you." A woman once approached Ben Hogan and offered him a ten-dollar bill, explaining that she had bet someone $20 that she could get him to say three words and felt obliged to share half with him. He said, "You lose." There is also a story about a venture capitalist who was approached (cornered) at a party by an eager young entrepreneur who insisted that all he needed was "only" $5-million to finance a great idea that would earn at least twenty times that. "Do you have a business card?" The young man offered one. "Please explain your great idea on the back of it." The young man insisted that that would be impossible. "Then I'm sorry but there really isn't anything for us to discuss."

This is indeed a time when "being brief is desperately needed and rarely delivered. When we fail to be clear and concise, the consequences can be brutal: wasted time, money, and resources; decisions made in confusion; worthy ideas rejected; people sent off in wrong directions; [so-called] done deals that always seem to stall." I congratulate Joseph McCormack on the wealth of information, insights, and counsel he provides in this lively and eloquent volume. Of course, I cannot resist the temptation to suggest that he really didn't need 217 pages but who's counting?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impact - Could Change the Culture of an Organization, February 12, 2014
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This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
I read it on a cross country flight; could not put it down - easy to read yet so much substance.

McCormack combines tangible lessons on how to practically apply his principles with entertaining stories and witty examples.

His approach to communication is intuitive but rarely followed. He clearly lays out the why then the how of clear and efficient communication.

This is about getting more done at work and in life by being disciplined with communication. Just consider the time wasted by our long winded bosses!

To be clear, its not about speaking in 140 characters or less. To quote the book, "To be brief doesn't just mean being concise. Your responsibility to is convey a message well enough to cause a person to act on it." And he tells you how.

After I read it, I felt compelled to practice it for the betterment of those around me.

Immensely helpful, extremely practical, essential.

Read it today, better yet, buy it for your boss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brevity is the soul of successful key messaging!, February 11, 2014
This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
Mr. McCormack's Brief does for messaging, communicating and engaging what Winston Churchill did for England in WWII-he provides guidance, direction and focus in a world gone asunder with verbose verbiage, hidden messages and untruthful sales jargon. His direction, "brevity is the catalyst of insight and ideas" should be stamped on everyone's brain housing group. This book will help anyone deliver their message, idea, goals, hopes and dreams with clarity, passion, brilliance and effectiveness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be brief with Brief, October 28, 2014
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Joseph (Joe) McCormack is on a mission to help organizations master the art of the short story.
If you don't use the GTD (Getting Things Done) method chances are you're tired at the end of the day of all the interruptions of e-mails, phone calls, colleagues passing by with a question, and lots of other distractions. It takes up to 28 minutes to get back from where you left before you were interrupted.
To start with, e-mails are concise and no longer than five lines, PowerPoint presentations are no longer then ten slides, and difficult ideas are translated into a simple story.
Make your point before your audience gets distracted. I've tried to tweet my information in sentences of 140 characters.
The seven Cs, short for capital sins, are the reasons for us not to be brief. The seven Cs are; cowardice, confidence, callousness, comfort, confusion, complication and carelessness. Therefore master brevity with: "Map it, tell it, talk it, and show it".
A compelling story starts with a strong headline, a lead paragraph with a logical sequence of events, a personal touch and a powerful conclusion. Keep it short and to the point and about real life events.
With the TALC ( pronounce as TLC, Talk, Actively Listen, and Converse) method you can enter and direct any conversation.
Visuals are brief, but hard to think up and to come by, photos from the internet, or drawings made by hand and presented in a fast paced video do more than a thousand words or a keynote.
Presentations like a TED Talk are limited to 18 minutes and they dictate strict presenter guidelines. How to effectively communicate in front of a desperate, distracted audience? Limit yourself to a page or even half a page, and put the recommendation in the first paragraphs with background details. Start with "Why?", defining the problem, and eliminate confusion. Know your audience about their background and experience. Pitch in a few words like a bumper sticker, and be convincing and concise.
Use as few words as possible, be self aware to what you say during small talk by pausing and reevaluating, and gain confidence to be brief through preparation and practice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intentional Communicating 101, March 3, 2014
By 
Christopher Lowe (APO, AP United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
[Brief] is an excellent guide for anyone who wants to be better in their professional and personal life. The author rightly identifies that all of us are drinking from a proverbial fire-hose of facts, figures, opinions, concerns, emails, briefings, images -- and none of us has the time or the mental capacity (much less the desire) to pay attention to even half of it. You won't get your point across unless you can start saying less. Saying less, if done well, is saying more.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our own voices, all of us have a bit of a tin ear. I found that [Brief] helped me hear myself better. It licensed me to say less, to pause more often, to listen more deeply. And the book's outstanding techniques have really added clarity and focus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Impacting Book!, February 26, 2014
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This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
Do you get your butt kicked daily with non-stop messaging, pointless presentations, ridiculously long meetings and absurd conference calls that are a giant waste of time? Brief by Joe McCormack is a must read to nip all this corporate mumbo jumbo in the bud. He does an excllent job of providing the tools necessary to distill big ideas into clear, concise communication points.

Read Brief now. It will change your life. It's already changed mine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Teachers are a rare breed, February 20, 2014
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I just finished the book and had the privilege to attend one of Joe's Lean Communications Courses. Simply stated, it has positively changed the way my office communicates at the executive level.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for anyone who needs to simpify it up, February 18, 2014
This review is from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hardcover)
I stumbled upon this book after reading a brief article written by Mr. McCormack on the power of brevity.

As a writer and consultant on messaging, the way he spoke about how to have a larger impact by saying less is powerful, and it's lessons I was able to quickly use and share with my clients.

Rather than write more, i'll just say that this is a book worth reading. If nothing else, it will show you how to make your point and get out of the way.

Matthew Goldfarb, Founder of Corpoate Renegade and author of Renegade Thoughts: How to stop fitting in and Start standing out
[...]
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Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less
Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less by Joseph McCormack (Hardcover - February 10, 2014)
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