Hopefully, at least once in your life, you have been in a meeting or lecture and thought “Wow!” You have been transfixed by the speaker and hung on their every word. Time passed incredibly quickly and when they sat down, it was like a spell being broken. If so, you likely thought to yourself: “If only I could present even half as well!”
Really! Truly. You just need to know how to ‘package’ your message! Because how you package your message determines whether or not you are listened to; whether or not you get your point across; and, whether or not you make a difference.
Of course, what you know (your know-how and experience etc) are very important. But, the hard truth is that HOW you communicate what you know is even more important.
Because, like it or not, in presentations, it’s not so much the content that counts but rather how you deliver it! People who communicate well get listened to – even if what they are saying is …. err… to be blunt … ‘total crap’. And people who don’t communicate well, often don’t get listened to – even if what they are saying is incredibly significant.
3-Part Forumula for Success
In this insight we’d like to give you a very simple three-part formula for ‘packaging’ your message so it makes the most, and has lasting, impact on your audience. You can use this formula in almost every situation – from a formal presentation to an informal Q&A session to a regular meeting with your team.
To communicate with impact, you need:
- A story or compelling statistic
- A clear main message
- A structured argumentation
- A story or compelling statistic:
- Why? You need to capture the attention of your audience; to intrigue them; to make them want to listen to you. In addition, by starting your ‘airtime’ with an element that you know well, you give yourself time to mentally prepare the next two components of your intervention.
- What? A personal story, an anecdote about somebody else, an eyebrow-raising statistic
- How? Use conversational, relaxed language and tone. Imagine you were chatting to a friend or a trusted colleague. Avoid business jargon.
- Example: “I have run the figures. Given the current circumstances, we will be out of cash in 6 weeks.”
- Comment: Aha! I caught your attention, right? Well, we guarantee that that type of startling phrase will get the attention of your entire audience!
- Your main message:
- Why? If you have not worked out the one key point you want to get across, your audience certainly won’t get it. It is vital therefore that you identify this at the outset.
- What? This is the one thing you want them to remember long after the meeting has ended. It’s the essence of what you’re trying to tell them.
- How? A clear, short message. Easy to remember and expressed with power.
- Example: “We must improve our total cash balance by x million euros per month – and we must do so collectively”
- Comment: For additional impact, we might even repeat this main message at the end of our intervention. Just to make sure people have heard you.
- Your argumentation:
- Why? A main message is not enough. You know what you are talking about as you have gone through an entire research and reflection process to get there but your audience has not. You need to help them get to the same point as you.
- What? Explain how you got to your main message.
- How? Provide three elements – minimum two, maximum four – that explain your thinking process. If you offer too many, you will lose people in the complexity and they will stop listening.
- Example: “These are the three elements we need to immediately start working upon: (1) protect our business revenues as much as possible; (2) decrease our variable costs, with immediate effect; (3) proactively manage our receivables, payables and credit lines for good cash management.”
- Comment: as you will see, the argumentation gives credibility to the main message you have been giving. It shows you know what you are talking about. And credibility leads to trust. Exactly what we are looking for.
This “story/statistic – main message – argumentation” formula is not the only communication combination you can use. But it’s a powerful one. And it’s very flexible. Give it a try. We are certain that the impact will be immediate!
Are you interested in going further and dramatically increasing your impact when presenting? We are very experienced in providing corporate training and coachings in advanced presentation skills, and our sessions are also available online – interactive, intense and full of useful and applicable ‘gems’ to get you to the next level. Read more here.