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How to craft a clear message

 In Delivery, Entrepreneur, Message creation, News, The Winning Voice

When I first work with a client in one on one format, or with a group of participants in my ‘Delivering memorable messages’ program, one common area that people struggle with, is how to be very clear on what their take away message(s) is – that they want the audience to retain and/or act upon – and then be able to translate those words into a one to two sentences or up to three bullet points.

Here is a simple, powerful process to determine your take away message(s) prior to delivering a presentation.

#1 Imagine this…. a week before the presentation, your boss says that you are restricted to just one sentence to speak for your entire presentation. That’s all. You protest that you can’t do this. However, the boss still insists on only one sentence. With this one sentence condition – let’s agree – you would need to make sure that it contains the most important point/message that you’d want to make.

#2 So, you review all your content, and after reflection you craft the most important sentence and share it with your boss. Your boss makes sure the sentence is clear and concise and then says, ‘I’ve changed the rules’. Now you can speak two sentences.’

#3 So, you go away to your content, and again after deliberation identify the second most important sentence. You tell your boss and the boss makes sure the sentence is clear and concise and then says,‘I’ve changed the rules. . . now you can speak three sentences.’

#4 Once again you go back to your possible content, and come up with the third most important sentence. Your boss makes sure that sentence is clear and concise.

#5 You repeat the process for the number four to ten most important sentences. Then your boss says, discard the number four to ten sentences, and just deliver your top three, most important sentences.

End of process.

The above process is the one I suggest you use when crafting your key message(s). When crafting a clear key message, consider that, the specific words you use, matter; how many words you use, matters, and how you sequence those words, matters. It matters to whether your messages stick in the audience’s mind, or not.  It is also matters, that the message can ‘stand on its own’.

A good litmus test for key message, is that after you speak them, an audience member could leave the room and accurately repeat the message to someone not in the room.

Here’s an example of a message that a workshop participant crafted. The message is more in line with that of a book title. It prompts the response ‘so what’.

– ‘Machine learning’ .

Through discussion with me, the participant revised the key message to:

– ‘Machine learning will half the time it will take to process invoices’.

Own the Conversation

Implementation Idea:

  • Within the next seven days, prior to presenting to one person or a group of people, use the above process to determine your key message.
  • Near the start of the presentation state the message exactly as you crafted it, and ‘spotlight it’**. That is, before your state the message, you say; ‘Here’s the take-away or ‘Here is the key message to remember’ or ‘If you take nothing else away take away this point’.

** Think of spotlighting as metaphorically tapping the audience on their shoulders and saying, ‘Listen especially well now because this is the important bit’.

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