Key takeaways from Mark Cuban’s “No waste” rule

Using the right words at the right time has the potential of transforming striking ideas into reality. Communication is a significant aspect of business success. Whether you are pitching an idea to a potential investor or a product to a customer, or even a new process to your employees, how you frame your sentences will determine the outcome in every case.

Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban says he spares at least 2 seconds to every business pitch emailed to him. Inc reports that while speaking on the podcast “Raising the Bar”, Cuban explained how to catch his attention by following the “No waste” rule. It is undoubtedly a strategy that helps in grabbing the ear by communicating better and thus stands true for every important communication.

At the root of the “No waste” rule is the knowledge that “people’s time and attention” is the most precious resource in the present-day world, and it is more true for people whose attention you are vying for. So, here are the key take-aways from Cuban’s “No waste” rule that can notch up your communication skills.

Choose email over social media or phone calls

For Cuban, email is the preferred channel of interaction. Reading an email takes lesser time and allows him the flexibility to access them as per his schedule. Moreover, emails by default help in maintaining a record which is extremely helpful in businesses. Cuban says he glances through all his mails at least once despite getting about 1000 mails a day.

Email is still considered the best channel for initiating a serious official communication. Like Cuban, most business leaders prefer to be contacted via email instead of social media or phone. When you use this channel to initiate interaction you also come across as a serious person with an agenda.

Be precise and to the point

Since important people have less time to spare, you must grab their attention fast enough – by Cuban’s own admission, for him it is 2 seconds. Cuban says he usually reads one or two paragraphs (which takes him 2 seconds) before deciding whether to reply or delete the mail.

Hence, you must be precise and land your best pitch within the opening lines. People are not going to spend one second more on your mail than necessary, so, give top priority to the most important or striking aspect of your communication and the inspiration or backstory can come later, only if it is a differentiator.

Avoid unwanted exaggerations

Many people tend to make an oversell by boasting that their product is the next Uber of an industry or how it will revolutionize the sector or simply use subjective words like “reinventing something” which are open to interpretations. Cuban emphasizes the need to be direct and straight forward.

You must understand people you are writing to do not want to solve a puzzle – they are reading your mail to find out if your idea deserves their time. So it’s better to skip the optics and straightaway land the blow in the old fashioned style.

Don’t follow-up unnecessarily

Getting persistent follow-ups without new insights irritates Cuban. He clarifies that to him follow-up mails make sense only if they have new information that can make the initial pitch stronger – like a prototype is ready or if the product has been launched in any specific market. Cuban admits using filters against people who aggravate him enough with unnecessary follow-up mails.

One mail is enough to showcase your idea, if you miss the first chance to generate a response, it is better to wait for something significant to happen before your follow-up. That will keep your credibility intact and also lend you a second chance to grab attention.

Don’t waste time procrastinating the idea

In many instances people waste much time over-thinking about whether to make the proposal or pitch to the concerned person. Cuban is an exceptional billionaire investor who reads his mails and even gives advice to people with whom he doesn’t partner. So, writing to him cannot hinder anyone’s position.

The same is also true in general. Whoever you intend to send a serious communication to might or might not respond to your mail, but it is best to send the communication and then wonder than not send it at all. Moreover, time is precious even for you, so you better not waste it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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