August 12; Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Eight: Communication; 12 August

When words are many,

sin is not absent,

but he who holds his tongue is wise

Proverbs 10:19

Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone

Short and Sweet

My father lived because Niels Bohr was incompetent. Thank God.

My dad was a teen at the end of WWII and was likely to be a part of the invasion of Japan, codenamed Operation Downfall. The Allied strategy was to win the war first by concentrating on the defeat of Germany, then Japan. After V-E day, Victory in Europe, our attention was fully turned to the Japanese Empire.

We had a secret, terrible weapon to end the war fast. But there were scientists who did not think we should drop The Bomb.

Niels Bohr was visiting President Roosevelt in August 1944 to persuade him not to use the Atomic bomb being developed as a weapon and that the technology should be shared with the world. Bohr talked too much and said too little too late. It took him 30 minutes to get to his point of his argument.

No CEO, no President, has time for that kind of throat-clearing wind-up. Historian William Manchester writes, “Roosevelt disagreed with Bohr and bade him good day.” (Manchester 1973)

It is not likely that Bohr could have persuaded the president not to drop the bomb. But he certainly was not the best representative for that point of view.


The staffer can persuade his manager in less time when the relationship has been nurtured. The boss will more quickly adopt the recommendation of a subordinate when the staffer can communicate efficiently and effectively.

The staffer must package the information and the recommendation as a marketing exercise to conform to the buying habits of the decision maker. (William Oncken 1984) The recommender can use short-cuts where a common language has been developed over time.

But here’s how the boss really makes a decision – fast. When s/he has,

Confidence in your competence,

Rapport with your personality [connection] and

Respect for your character (William Oncken 1984)

This briefing expertise and courtesy goes in both directions.

General George Marshall, when he served at the Infantry School, insisted that student officers practice delivering short, simple orders orally – standing up. General Marshall was teaching a new generation of Army officers to think fast and reason well and speak plainly on their feet. (Ricks 2012)

General William Hood Simpson during WWII was a delight to work for – he was known for issuing orders in such a manner and early enough to allow for proper planning, what would be commonly known as a warning order. This is to give subordinate units time to begin to get ready. Not every detail is necessary to begin to move in the correct direction. The fleshed-out final orders would follow. (Ricks 2012) Page 108

And this is not just for words but also for figures, “For any presentation or talk, you’ll be wise to observe…the three R’s of numbers: Reduce, Round, and Relate. [James Humes loc 834 Speak like Churchill]


Writer Gail Godwin says, “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.” (Godwin 2014) Niels Bohr did not prepare properly to know how to sell to the President and did not know FDR as his audience.

Roosevelt died in April 1945. Vice President Harry Truman would assume office and continue with the strategic use of the atomic weapon. He dropped the bomb on Japan on August 6 and August 9. Japan surrendered unconditionally on August 15, 1945.


Dad came home and finished high school.

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise, Proverbs 10:19



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8 Responses

  1. Arturo says:

    Be brief, be bright, and be gone. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” I think this phrase can be related not only to business world but in personal life as well. We live in a very busy world and we have to deliver the message as fast but as precise as possible to keep people’s attention.
    It’s often said that time is money so you should always be aware and respectful when speaking. We have a lot to say and sometimes we simply want to show how bright we are by using a lot of words. This is definitely not what we want to use at a presentation, job interview or just a casual conversation meeting someone for the first time. The more you say, the less people tend to remember.
    Talking about the business world, executives and workers tend to be busy and don’t have time for long, dull conversations. Managers and workers in general want short emails, short responses, and precise text messages not long paragraphs to express ideas.
    And last but not least the “Gone”, once you’ve said what you need to say , leave them wanting more and intrigued. Personally, working in sales you always have to leave the customer wanting more, leaving that excitement in them in order to create the desire and creating the urgency to buy more!

  2. Mike C says:

    This week’s blog post title deserves to be in bold print on every salesmen’s toolkit and should be adhered to every time they have the privilege of being in front of a customer or their own in-house staff and manager, honestly in today’s meme society, with all whom the salesmen interact with. “Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone” are fundamental words to live by.

    The consummate professional practices these simple yet eloquent steps to being effective and efficient in business and life. The behind the scene practice and study of one’s craft takes hours of dedication and research developing knowledge of one’s product or service and its application. Research includes knowledge of your competitor’s offerings. The use of brief storytelling can create compelling and emotional connections with your audience.

    Overcoming common objections is critical. Memorization and roll play to develop an automatic level (non-robotic, just your normal confident self) of verbal and written presentation skills will build mastery of the sales pitch. Mastery of the sales pitch is essential to connect with busy prospects and can help assimilate a common ground with in-house co-workers. Be respectful of your audience’s time.

    As a professional, it is useful to show empathy with customers. Find their pain, why do they need your offerings to make their life easier and less stressed. Give the customer relevant information needed to solve their issue without putting all the “candy” (information) on the table. Too much information all at once is the death of many sales calls. Instead, it’s better to create desire and need. Start a dialogue with the customer, make them feel comfortable enough to ask you for more information. It will allow you to close more deals with less stress.

  3. There are 3 B’s to always consider when addressing an audience of any size. They are be bold, be brief and be gone.

    It’s often been said that time is our most precious commodity, so you should always be respectful of that when speaking.

    Be Bold – One of the best things a speaker can do is start with a bang! Give the audience a startling statistic, an interesting quote, a news headline – something powerful that will grab the listener’s attention. You only have one shot to make that all-important first impression.

    Be Brief – Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening. The ability to be brief in your desired remarks shows that you’re sensitive to the importance of time. One of my favorite quotes is, “A speech is like a woman’s skirt: it needs to be long enough to cover the subject matter, but short enough to hold the audience’s attention.”

    Be Gone – Once you’ve said what you need to say, the 3rd B is to be gone. We’ve all heard the old adage, always leave them wanting more. The same is true for communication. If you stop talking before your listener gets bored, distracted or overwhelmed, they will come to you for more.

    Now it’s time to leave!

  4. Molly M says:

    The three B’s of public speaking are wise for every speaker or communicator to heed. Catching your audience’s attention is a must. The most efficient way to deliver the ‘catch’ is to be bold. Use bold words, or as my friends call them ‘ten-point words’ — words that will capture the attention of your audience, so that your can reel them in to your information. Being brief is just as important. Eliminating wordiness is necessary if you are going to maintain the attention of the audience. Get to the point in the most efficient and least confusing way possible. Being gone is the last and most important step. Let your words linger with your audience, but you don’t have to. You want your audience to be left thinking about what you’ve just said – they can’t reflect on your speech if you are still standing over them.

    Be bold – Be brief – Be gone. Words to live by even further than public speaking.

  5. Debby L says:

    The quote “Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone” can be applied to various situations, both in and out of the workplace.

    To be brief means to keep things short, sweet and to the point. We could learn a thing or two by using Twitter, which forces the user to condense each post (or better known as “tweet”) to 140 characters or less. It’s a lot harder than you think! Twitter users tend to get creative by using acronyms, slang and abbreviations to meet the maximum limit, but you should avoid them when communicating in the workplace.

    To be brilliant means to be cognizant with the content being communicated to your intended audience. A helpful tip is to master the art of “Explain Like I’m Five.” This concept arises from a web forum called “Reddit” where users ask a complex question in return for “friendly, simplified and layman-accessible explanations.” However, the answers are not geared towards literal five-year-olds. Please keep in mind that being brilliant in your message does not mean that you should be condescending towards the audience.

    The third point, be gone, means knowing how and when to end the conversation. State your point and end your message. This goes for both written and oral communication, but especially for oral conversations. Try to answer any questions clearly and concisely, then know when to walk away.

  6. JMK says:

    It’s very important for any speaker to learn the three B’s as they will allow him/her to be a successful presenter. They will enable the speaker to not only respect his/her audience’s time, but also learn how to communicate effectively.

    Being brief when giving a presentation means that you give a short and concise presentation without neglecting the content; it’s about finding that balance that will enable you to successfully getting your message across while you are still having your audience attention.

    Being brilliant means to have that great content to your presentation and finding that Aha-moment that will make you win your audience heart. The Aha-moment is that moment when your audience realizes something they didn’t know before or when you say a simple phrase at the beginning of your presentation that grasp their attention.

    Being gone means to leave when you are done and delivered your message successfully. Avoid dumping information and data if they are not important as people will not remember and you will lose their attention. Once you are done and you passed the Q&A part, you should go back to your seat.

  7. Lauren R says:

    Be brief, be brilliant, and be gone–a kinder way of saying, “keep it simple, stupid.”

    Be brief: One of the most important things I’ve learned in my professional career is that you can say more with less. Giving people the information they need up front allows them to process, think, and ask questions. It’s a way to give people an amuse bouche without ruining their appetite and creates a sense of wanting more from the audience.

    Be Brilliant: You know you’re smart. The audience knows your smart because you’re the keynote speaker at a major conference/on a technical issue. There is no need to wow the audience with multi-syllabic, large words. Brilliance can be displayed by knowing your audience and teaching them something they know. It can also be shown in the way in which you present your speech–you may be the most intelligent person in the world but if you can’t explain it in a way that a less-technical attendee would understand, how much do you actually know about your subject?

    Be Gone: Probably the best, and most important, piece of advice you could give and the bow that ties the two first strings of advice together. There is no need to overstay your welcome. In fact, if you can’t briefly and brilliantly present your speech, most people will lose interest and potentially start viewing you negatively/tuning you out.

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