There is a famous story about the movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. A nervous young man had been ushered into his office to pitch an idea for a movie.

“You got a card son?” asked Goldwyn
The nervous young man fumbled a card out of his breast pocket and slid it across the desk. Goldwyn didn’t even look at it. He turned it over and pushed it back across the desk.
“Write your pitch on there.”
The young man looked, uncomprehending, at Goldwyn.
“Because if your idea for your movie doesn’t fit on the back of a business card – you ain’t got a movie.”

If someone cuts you short, and really forces brevity upon you – your 45-minute presentation has to be delivered in 12 minutes, you meet your CEO in an elevator and she asks you what’s the big issue in your department right now – will you have anything relevant or persuasive to say?

Pick up an object – a pen, your wallet, a mouse. Swivel it around and look at it from all angles. Is it easy to describe to someone on the other end of a phone line? Think of a dear friend, someone you know really well. Can you use five words, or short phrases, to encapsulate that friend when you are describing him to someone else? With a small amount of effort, you can accomplish these simple descriptive exercises quite well.

What about yourself, or your current project, or your big idea? How well, and how tightly, can you pitch that? That will probably require a bit more effort. Fortunately, the weekend is coming. So get to it …

“I cannot write five words but that I change seven.”
(Dorothy Parker)