Get to the Point

Getting to the point is difficult for most people.  We have all been bored to the point of distraction by a speaker who speaks an hour when he or she could have made the points in 20 minutes.  Don’t be the person who in conversation takes five minutes to tell a story when the narrative could have been finished in two minutes.

I want a person to get to the point quickly.  When you do, people listen better and are more likely to remember the message delivered.  One of my favorite examples is a movie title a few summers ago, “Snakes On a Plane.”  That said all I needed to know.  Maybe that is one reason the movie stayed in theatres for such a short time (about one week).

My wife says that when she takes too long in her narrative  that I say, “Point!” Surely not. She must be exaggerating.

Inauguration speeches of Presidents often are too long. One of the shortest and most memorable was the inauguration speech John F. Kennedy delivered that was 14 minutes in length. Lincoln spoke two minutes at Gettysburg and had one of the greatest speeches of all time. Edward Everett, the featured speaker at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg and great orator of the period, spoke two hours and most people don’t even remember his name.  Everett later said to Lincoln, “I should be glad I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”

Keep your conversation contributions short and to the point. In delivering a presentation, speak a little short of your allotted time; never go over time. An effective presentation can lose its power when the speaker talks longer than the audience expects him or her to. A mediocre speech may not seem so bad to an audience if the speaker gets to the point quickly and sits down.

To be more effective as a communicator, get to the point. Conciseness is golden.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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