Be bright. Be brief. Be gone.

Cool Under Fire© series, 2 of 5 by Marianne Fleischer

This second of five articles in the Cool Under Fire©Series will help you think on their feet. Speechwriter & Executive Speech Coach Marianne Fleischer, Fleischer Communications, will also be the keynote speaker at Women in Consulting’s August 10th, South Bay General Meeting.

be bright

Whether you are at the podium or working the room, brand these six words onto your heart: Be bright. Be brief. Be gone.

Why? Because the real gold now is respecting people’s TIME.So, how do you learn to cut to the chase? What will help you stop avalanching all you know and find that elegant narrative thread?

We’re human. When we present, we want people to know how hard we’ve worked, how strategic we are. We want them to know all the glorious research we’ve done. We want them to know how late we stayed. So how do you forget that and learn to be bright, be brief, be gone?

First,think PROFILING. When planning your presentation, ask yourself what has THIS audience come to learn? What’s my reputation with them–really? What’s changed since last night? How much complexity does this audience want?

Speak above their knowledge, you’ll lose them. Speak below and insult their intelligence. What’s the real ASK: Do they want you to give data or just friggin’ fix it?Do they want to be swept up by a great origin story? What’s their bias?Are they exacting engineers fierce about accuracy or marketers obsessed with  influence?

Start with deep profiling.Then you can see how to cut to the chase.

Brand these stats in your brain. 10 slides, 20 minutes,and 6 bullet points per slide—generally. No font should be smaller than 30.For pizazz, sprinkle in a few slides with ONE killer phrase and image. Think about being quotable.Leave them wanting more.

Quit complicating it. At the root, audiences just ask three things of you, in this order:

Make me care.        Snap me to attention. Why should your agenda be my priority now?

Make me believe.   Show me solid evidence. Then convince me You’re the Guy to Do It.

Make me trigger.       Trigger something specific I can do OR think–by when.

We all can misread people, but here’s the bottom line: If listeners want more–they give off “tells”. Tells are automatic micro-movements we do that others can read like radar. People linger or turn away.Their eyes avert or crinkle. Their mouths will give them up. If you’re long-winded, here’s a tip: IF people listening to you are NOT interested–THEY DON’T ASK follow-up questions.

In summary, think of respecting people’s time as your new North Star. Whether you are public speaking or just working the room at a networking event, remember this leadership adage: Be bright. Be brief. Be gone.' About Marianne Fleischer

San Francisco Speechwriter & Executive Speech Coach Marianne Fleischer, Fleischer Communications gives private speech coaching & workshops. Learn more at


  1. Great tips here! It’s so important to keep people’s time in mind when giving a speech. Thanks for sharing all of these!

  2. Hi Jordan,

    You’re welcome. Doesn’t it seem that the real GOLD today is people’s time? Obviously public speaking is a complex art. So as a speech coach, I like this quick shorthand: Make audiences care. Then make them believe you’re the guy to drive it. Lastly, leave with a call to action. Thanks for weighing in from Info Plus International’s view of the world.

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