The one-sentence summary

Talking lean means combining directness with politeness to develop quicker results and better relations.


· You can benefit from shorter meetings, quicker results and better relations by following a method developed by a French company called Interactifs.

· Surveying over 60,000 people over 20 years, they all answer pretty much the same to the question: How would you like to be spoken to? People want:

· Content: clear, direct, straight to the point, simple, precise, concise, concrete

· Manner: polite, calm, respectful, courteous, warm, with humour if possible.

· Most meetings and conversations are opened without reference to real intentions. Changing this makes everything work better. Start at the end (your objective) and work back.

· Three elements interlock to make this work:

1. My meeting objective.

2. What I did to prepare the meeting.

3. My state of mind.

· These preparation stages are reversed in the announcement of the purpose of the meeting: state of mind > what was prepared > meeting objective.

Three things affect levels of understanding:

1. Unsaid: things that are thought or felt but not mentioned.

2. Said: uttered, but counterproductively.

3. Ineffective listening: rigorous listening crucially involves listening to yourself.


· The best way to truly understand what the other person is saying is to write it down – without bias or changing their words.

· An objective of influence is to get someone to agree with your point of view.

· An objective of production is agreeing what needs to happen.

· Meetings advance successfully on one of three paths:

1. Him/Her: finding out what the other person is really thinking

2. Me: telling the other person what you really think and getting a reaction.

3. Us: finding a solution and/or launching an action.

· “What do you think of what I just said?” is a very powerful question.


· A bibliography would have been useful.

· The frequent use of capitals for emphasis implies a somewhat hectoring feel that is arguably at odds with the sensitivity of the technique – italics would perhaps have been softer on the page.