Solutions: Articulating your answer

Hello again,

Well done for taking the time to watch the video and complete the challenge on ‘Articulating your answer'. Here are the solutions, some suggestions and a short video full of mastery secrets.

Feel free to email us at if we can help you further.

Davina and Gerard


1. Why is it important to keep your Answer short?
All of these reasons provide a good motivation for keeping your Answer short: to make it easier for your reader to understand your message, to push you to tighten your thinking, and to encourage you to be more articulate.

2. An Answer overarches the whole story when…
It synthesises or summarises all of the ideas within the body of the story. Whenever you can, use synthesis to add insight rather than just creating a summary.

3. What is the maximum number of words you should have in your Answer?
Try to keep your Answer, or governing idea, to 25 words or less.

4. The Answer describes the way in which a set of information is important to a particular audience
True. The Answer or governing idea does more than just summarise the information that is there, it provides insight about the value of that information for a particular audience.

5. It is ideal to have two, or even three, Answers for any one story
False. The discipline of pushing yourself to clarify the central purpose for your communication and then to articulate this in one sentence is hugely powerful for both you and your audience.

6. Which of these is the most technically correct and useful Answer?
“Black should seek ABC approval for DEF development by the end of December 2013” is the most technically correct and useful. The other two are incomplete and do not provide enough substance to be helpful. They are unlikely to overarch a complete argument while also being powerful and supportable.


Think carefully about the over-riding purpose of each piece of communication you are preparing. Try to clarify the single question you are answering and articulate the Answer in just one sentence. This takes practice but is well worth the effort, even for shorter pieces of communication such as emails.

Many emails are, after all, not much more than a CTQ and then the Answer. In these settings you need to be clear about the question you are answering, although you may not actually state it. Your email may only include the context and trigger in one sentence followed by the answer. For example,

Hi Bill,

Sorry to let you know at the last minute, but we will need to change our meeting time. I am hoping that 3pm tomorrow would work for you. Would you let me know if that is OK?


Mastery Secrets


 Feel free to email us at if you have any questions.

Davina and Gerard



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