The first thing is to figure out what is the communication goals of colleagues.
- Is the boss concerned about status and schedule? Then do go into technical detail, but provide enough information to give confidence in your response.
- Are you being asked to provide a lot of directions and solutions from colleagues or subordinates? Then you can ask for opinions and suggestion before providing other feedback. Once people realize that they should think before asking, you will get a lot less frivolous questions.
- Are you being asked for technical detail? Figure out what kind of information would be helpful for you. Bear in mind some people may want more or less because of experience level or personal style.
Second, don't be too concerned about "needless conversation". Communication is a key to any organization as well as social harmony.
Third, look for, and implement, more formalized systems of information sharing. The bigger the company and the project the more communication is needed. The conversations requirements will become exponential if it is not systematized. A simple example are kanbans in an agile development process. When a story is put into the "ready for development" all the coders know they can take up the story and that the story description and test criteria are written. There is no asking around about what to do next and fewer questions about what needs to get done. Obviously no system is perfect, and conversation will still be required. However, ready access to the information each person needs for the job will reduce lots of unnecessary conversation. There will be less conversation used just to gather information and fewer discussions pointlessly trying to figure out why critical information was not communicated. Conversation can then be more focused on decision making, design, etc which will be a better use of everyone's time.