- Have you ever attended a talk or presentation and walked out wondering what it was about?
- Have you received a solicitation or fundraising packet and not known exactly what they were doing, other than asking for money?
- Have you walked away from an event wondering why you were there?
These situations happens far too frequently; without thoughtful preparation we take the chance of losing our message and connection with our audience because of poor preparation.
You have worked hard to get your message in front of eyeballs, make sure your message actually connects with you audience- be clear, be direct, be understandable. Be sure you take the time to think carefully about what it is you need to say, and more importantly, what your listeners need to hear.
So Much Noise
With the amount of talk, text and images out there, it can be easy for your stuff get lost in the noise. Email inboxes are filled, everyone has a new app to download or mailing list subscription.
Respect your reader’s time and attention: tell them who you are, what you do and what you are asking for.
If your listener can’t quickly grasp and convey your message then you have not done your job. Communicating clearly and concisely is critical to not only delivering your message, it is equally critical to making it easy for your message to be shared with others.
Packaging your thoughts into an easily understood, clearly stated sections saves everyone time and effort.
Clear concise messaging can be challenging, how do you know what to leave in and what to leave out?
Below are 6 steps you can take to be sure your message, and messaging is clear to you, your audience and their audience.
1/ One Idea
Your message is a single idea. It is short and direct. Don’t add in other ideas or topics, stick to the central thought you wish to convey
Be clear and direct; don’t talk about other related things, don’t have to many ideas in your message.
Too little or too much can confuse your listener; while you may understand chapter and verse about your topic, chances are your listeners don’t.
Make it easy for them to understand the single most important message you are bringing.
2/ Use Their Language
Speak the language of your audience, engage them with words that they understand and use in real life.
Choose your words thoughtfully, choose words that engage the imagination of your listeners. If they are numbers people, use numbers and math; if they are art people, use terms that are used with art, and not vice versa.
Who are you addressing? What age, where are they located, why are they hearing from you? What are some common words and phrases you share?
3/ Hearts and Minds
Look to engage the hearts and minds of your audience, think about what will move them to see your vision, to see the opportunities you see? Be descriptive, draw pictures with your words that will resonate with your listeners. This is not the time for statistics and factoids.
Describe the changes you seek and how the world would look when they took place, how different will the world look as a result of your combined efforts?
What words, thoughts, images or scenarios will trigger a resonant response to engage your audience further?
4/ Be Sincere
Show your conviction for how important this is to you- that will come across as you speak and is impossible to fake. Think about some strong ways to share that conviction with your readers and listeners. Don’t be glib or superficial or hide behind jargon, this is something important, be sure your sincerity is clear.
5/ Be Recognizable
Lead your listen and readers to the conclusion: ‘my point is….’, or ‘we can see that…..’. Don’t let anyone wander around and wonder what the point , steer them with language such as ‘in conclusion, to sum it all up, we believe that,’ so there is no ambiguity about what your message truly is.
Practice, practice, practice. Be consistent, use the same words and phrases throughout your blogs, talks, articles, on your website, across all your channels.
6/ Be Positive
End your piece with a positive, constructive tone. Focus beyond the issues and challenges of right now and show the steps you have made toward your goals. Part of this includes noting the progress and work you have done so far, what opportunities are in front of you and ultimately what the landscape of your successful future looks like.
There can be less than pleasant parts of your message- the inequity, the need, the problems you are addressing as part of your mission. It is important to acknowledge these, and in the context of how these problems are being addressed.
7/ Now What?
What is your call to action; what is the final thing you want your readers to do once they have read your message?
You had just delivered a heartfelt, sincere, clear message about what you do, how important it is and where you are going. Don’t just leave them hanging, this is the time to ask for what it is you want.
Make it easy for them: tell them what to do next : call today, donate now, join us, sign this, make a difference.
7.1 Pay Attention
What is working?
What is not?
Follow up and see what words and images seem to make the biggest dent with your audience- which articles are being read, which are being skipped? Do a short evaluation after a presentation, what worked and what didn’t?
Tailor your future messaging to what is bringing you the ears and eyeballs of those you wish to reach.
Need some help refining your words? Call today, we’d love to help.
310 828 6979
image credit: https://toddleopold.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/ginger.gif?w=65