It is early to be doing a post about my three words to focus on in the New Year, but the semester is coming quickly to an end and there are things I’ve learned over the last part of this year that I need to transfer to the work I’m planning to move into in the second half of 2016.

The three words that will lead me through my Masters degree and back into my career are: Focus, Clarity and Specificity.

I have noticed, both in myself and in others, this effort to include the most information possible, to expand on things that we say to try and inform or appear informed. I actually had a conversation with one of my professors about a specific assignment that I had done well on, but I had also gotten lost in trying to explain too many aspects of the issue. I lacked focus.

The great thing about this program, and about working in politics is that shorter is better, succinct is desired. People don’t have the time to hear long explanations of the background and process by which you reached your recommendation. They want to know, in bullet points, what they should do and why.

They need clarity. Precision. Specificity. They need the question to be addressed in a document that they can read and make sense of in the car on the way to a meeting. If they need more information they will ask for it, and you should have it readily available. But in the moment they just need to answer what and why, and maybe who and how.

This will be my focus in papers for the rest of my degree and my quest in dealing with clients in the future. I will not waste people’s time.

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