Short, Sweet, and to the Point

We have never before lived in an age where attention spans have been so short. Have you noticed that on those occasions (very rare for me) where you’re watching live TV, the segments are … maybe … 3 minutes followed by 3-to-5 minutes of 15 or 30-second commercials? And unless those 3 minutes of TV are engaging, our minds have moved on to other things.

In an article on leadership for the NY Times, “Finding the Core of a Problem,” CEO of Novartis, Joseph Jimenez, said this …

Companies are complicated, but the best bosses can boil down their goals and strategies to simple, easy-to-understand messages, says Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. Only then will employees grasp and implement those strategies. “If you can’t hold something in your head, then you’re not going to be able to internalize it and act on it,” Jimenez says.

What’s my point? Your value-oriented marketing message needs to be crystal clear, engaging, and succinct.

Crystal Clear

If you are not clear on your value to a prospective company, your communication message will revert to responsibilities and duties, be inconsistent, and may even muddy your obvious ability to positively impact an organization. And if you aren’t clear on how you can impact, neither recruiters or companies will figure it out for you!


When someone is talking ‘at’ you with details you care nothing about, what is your response? I can tell you mine … after a very short time the D in the DISC (Dominance) takes hold, my eyes glaze over, and I start thinking about other things I need to do. I don’t intend to be rude, it’s the way my mind is wired. Just give me the facts I need to make a decision on what to do next, and be quick about it.

Thus, the importance of “engaging” your audience. Instead of talking at people, engage them in dialogue. It keeps them interested in the conversation because they are an active participant. Rather than throwing a 2-minute litany of your greatness their way (otherwise known as an elevator speech), deliver your marketing message in 15-second intervals that fosters follow-up questions and a continuation of the conversation.


This is where I believe Jimenez truly nails it. If you want a prospective company or recruiter to consider you as a compelling candidate, give them a value-oriented message they can easily comprehend, internalize, and act on!

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3 thoughts on “Short, Sweet, and to the Point”

  1. Engagement.

    When saying this word to finance people, many of them think about the period before getting married.

    Successful CFOs are people people that know how to engage other people. They know how to involve other people in a conversation that makes them feel that they are valued.

    Technically strong (but interpersonally weak) CFOs may be great in the job that they are doing, but are at a huge disadvantage in a career change situation.

    Thankfully, there are people like you Cindy that can help them.

    Samuel Dergel
    Dergel CFO Search & Consulting

    • “When saying this word to finance people, many of them think about the period before getting married.”

      Oh Samuel, I’m still laughing!

      You are so right about interpersonal skills – the new “social intelligence” – that are critical for success as a Chief Financial Officer today! Thanks as always for your insight and for your kind words!


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