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June 16, 2024

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In the intricate dance of interpersonal communication, striking the right balance between providing necessary detail and maintaining conciseness can be a challenging task. For many, particularly those who naturally lean towards thorough explanations, feedback such as “Be concise,” “Stop giving excuses,” or “You must be lying, otherwise why would you give so much irrelevant detail?” can be both confusing and frustrating. This article delves into the complexities of communication styles, explores why some people provide more detail than might be deemed necessary, and offers strategies for effective, balanced communication.

Understanding Different Communication Styles

Communication styles can vary significantly from person to person. Some individuals get straight to the point, providing minimal background information, while others feel compelled to give a complete picture by including comprehensive details. This difference often leads to misunderstandings and frustration on both sides.

  1. Detail-Oriented Communicators: These individuals feel that providing full context is crucial for understanding. They tend to believe that more information prevents misinterpretations and ensures that all bases are covered.
  2. Concise Communicators: Those who prefer conciseness tend to value efficiency and speed in conversations. They may view additional details as superfluous or distracting, which can lead to perceptions that a detail-oriented communicator is making excuses or being deceptive.

The Challenges of Being Misunderstood

For detail-oriented communicators, the feedback to be more concise can often feel like a criticism of their integrity or intelligence. Comments implying that detailed explanations are merely excuses or lies can be particularly disheartening, leading to self-doubt and frustration. This misunderstanding can escalate into:

  • Reduced Self-Confidence: Constant criticism of one’s natural communication style can lead to diminished self-confidence.
  • Communication Breakdown: Misunderstandings about the intent behind detailed explanations can lead to breakdowns in communication and potentially damage relationships.
  • Reluctance to Engage: Ongoing negative feedback may lead some individuals to withdraw from conversations, limiting their participation and contribution.

Strategies for More Effective Communication

To navigate these challenges and foster more effective interactions, both detail-oriented and concise communicators can employ several strategies:

  1. Clarify Intentions: Before diving into details, briefly state your intention. For example, say, “I want to ensure we’re on the same page, so I’m going to provide some background.”
  2. Tailor Your Message: Consider your audience’s preferences and adjust your level of detail accordingly. Ask upfront if they need the full context or just the key points.
  3. Use the Pyramid Structure: Start with the most important information (the ‘bottom line’) and then ask if further details are needed. This approach caters to those who prefer conciseness, while still allowing room to expand if necessary.
  4. Invite Feedback: Encourage listeners to indicate when they have enough information or need more details. This can help guide the conversation to meet everyone’s needs.
  5. Develop Active Listening Skills: Both types of communicators should practice active listening. For concise communicators, this means being patient and open to receiving more details. For detail-oriented speakers, this involves paying attention to cues that the listener may need less information.


Balancing the amount of detail in communication is a nuanced skill that requires understanding and flexibility from all parties involved. By recognizing different communication styles and adapting to the needs of the audience, individuals can improve their interactions, reduce misunderstandings, and ensure that their messages are both heard and appreciated. This not only enhances personal and professional relationships but also enriches the quality of exchanges, making them more productive and satisfying for everyone involved.


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