We all have had friends, colleagues, associates, relatives, teachers, pastors, and relatives who just would just not (excuse me mama) shut up! At an early age most of us were taught not to interrupt the speaker, so out of kindness and respect, we listened and listened and listened some more. I know what you are going to tell me; Richard we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, the art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, one of the most sincere forms of respect is listening. I agree. All too often we underestimate the power of listening and how it has the potential to turn a life around. Dylan Moran, the brilliant Irish comedian puts it this way, ” The measure of a conversation is how much mutual recognition there is in it; how much shared there is in it. If you are talking about what’s in your own head or without thought to what people looking or listening will feel, you might as well be in a room talking to yourself.” The last thing any of us want to hear after giving a speech, lecture, or just talking to a friend is for our targeted audience to say, “what was that all about”, “he was all over the place”, or “what was her point”. Now don’t get this twisted like a bag of pretzels, but staying on point is paramount. In today’s fast paced society you only have someone’s undivided attention for so long. You are just one bad ringtone song away from, “I gotta take this call”, or “she knows I’m in a meeting”. In speaking to today’s movers and shakers, I do my best to be clear, concise, and conscious of the fact that the clock is ticking. Your point should be able to be made in a simple sentence. The remainder of your time should be to support that subject and predicate. Most people, me included, don’t intentionally tend to stray from the subject; it happens accidentally. The waiters comes to refill a water glass, the co-worker needs a signature now, the alarm on the watch goes off, and the train of thought is broken like a glass falling on a ceramic tile floor. When I speak at recovery meetings, it is quite easy to get off track because there are so many facets to recovery. I pray about a specific topic to address at the meeting, and I stick to the script. Well meaning questions, personal experiences, and fragile hearts will take you off the beaten path as well. In God We Trust. These three words speak volumes and get directly to the point. I could bore you to death and do a thesis paper on the iconic saying; but why? When I was a young boy, the saying used to be “time is money”, in today’s society that still rings true but now more than ever, clarity is bliss!