Chapter 10

Keep It Brief or They’ll Give You Grief

Let’s address the elephant in the room. “YO Elephant!”

HUMORIST GENE WEINGARTEN

Do you know what the elephant in the room is in every business interaction? The underlying concern of “how long will this take?”

As a popular office poster says, “Opportunity knocks. People barge right in.” If people barge in and don’t ask if this is a good time, we become resentful and anxious.

Anxious? Yes, anxiety is defined as “not knowing.” If we don’t know how long someone wants our attention, we don’t pay attention. We’re thinking, Don’t you realize you’re interrupting me? Hurry it up. I’ve got things to do.

It’s like the famous New Yorker cartoon from Bob Mankoff that shows an executive on the phone saying, ...

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