Can you get to the point? | Show up and Sparkle

Public Speaking

Keep attention, say your piece and be clear

We’ve all been there haven’t we? – sat in meetings, presentations and at lunches when someone has been rambling on and on or pontificating about something and we’ve asked ourselves ‘what’s your point?’ or ‘I wonder what the point is here?’  Well if you ever wonder that, everyone else does too – if, indeed, they’re still listening long enough to be wondering.

Do you find you ask someone a question and they explain and explain and tell you too much of the story and in fact, they never answer the question? They often end up confusing themselves or forgetting what the question was in the first place.  They’ll also, most likely, lose your attention too.  If this sounds familiar to you as something you either experience or even do, then I have a simple question for you to ask and a helpful, assertive way to ask it.  It’s a bit like a key which unlocks the point from the story.

It’s just the same if you ask someone something yourself.  If you come out with the actual question fairly quickly then the other person knows where you’re coming from.  They don’t have to sit wondering, with the twists and turns of your explanation, what your actual point is.   In the fast-paced world in which we live, it’s easy to lose people’s attention.

Sometimes it really helps to ask yourself a question first – before you approach anyone else.  The question you ask yourself is “In one sentence, what’s my point?” with the key part being ‘in one sentence’.  It enables you to grab the point from all the stuff swimming about in your head.

We always know what it is when pressed like that and it’s a relief.  We say ‘well, I suppose it’s ABC’ or ‘gosh, one sentence?  Well, it’s ABC’.   That’s when we get what the point actually is, with no frills, no explanation or justification.  It’s then, with this in mind, we can approach what we want to say, ask or find out.

You can really save a lot of time and help other people to ‘get to the point’ by asking them the same question; the difference being your approach.  You want to avoid closing them down by coming across as blunt or rude.  You need a few sparkly verbal garnishes or accessories, if you will, to ease the question across.

“Hey there Laura, just so I can get clear with you what we’re thinking about, what’s the point please – in just one sentence?  It’ll help me to know if and how I can help you more quickly.”

There are 3 key things to remember here:

  1. Position it as being helpful to you both “what we’re thinking about”
  2. Use their name and keep your tone light and friendly
  3. Your intention is to clarify, not to say “yes” or “no”, just to get clear

Ah, now we have it.  Now we can start to line up and sort – like a computer does – for what’s actually going on.

If you’re going too far into the story and explanation before you’ve got to your point and the phone rings or the fire alarm sounds, will people know what the point was of what you were saying?  Now that’s my point.


I’d love to hear what you think. You can leave me a comment or a note here. Here’s an immediate and practical Gift of you!  A complimentary copy of “Do You Have Trouble Saying NO?”

Let me walk you through the mindsets, strategies and exact words and phrases to use to ensure you keep stronger, more assertive boundaries for yourself and your time without upsetting yourself, or the other person.  Also, you’ll receive my twice-monthly eZine filled with more tips, tools, ideas and news.

About the author

Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Ambitious Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to attract promotion, recognition and rewards at work without feeling they have to ’sell their soul. Kay shows her clients, who are corporate career women at all different stages of their careers, how to naturally attract more income and opportunity all while being true to themselves. Combining strategic moves with influencing skills plus compelling and assertive language and powerful mindsets, Kay draws on her own 20+ years corporate career in the very male-dominated world of London insurance broking. She started at 18 as a Secretary and left as a Director to start her own business. Hosting an annual 3-day Event for corporate women “Show Up; Sparkle & Be Heard LIVE” Kay encourages and shows women how to be the best, most valuable version of themselves. Kay is author of the Number 1 Best-Seller “The A to Z of Being Understood” and you can connect and find out more from Kay at :

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