What’s Your Story?

Are you overwhelming your audience with too much information? Rambling diatribes peppered with industry buzzwords and statistics may invoke a near-fatal case of information overload and prevent you from capturing the hearts and minds of your audience. Instead, create simple, powerful, memorable messages that will resonate and achieve your desired effect.

  • Understand your audience
    Don’t start crafting your message until you understand the motivation and wishes of your audience, no matter who that audience is. Starting with a rhetorical question, making a short, bold statement, or using a metaphor to show the audience that you’re on the same page. Remember, you have less than 90 seconds to make a connection, and bored listeners may turn their attention to their mobile devices. Creating an emotional bond with your audience is the best way to compete against the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Trying to accomplish too much can dilute your message and confuse listeners, so take the time to crystalize your communications by focusing on a clear, single objective, then keep it front and center as you craft your message.
  • Keep your message simple
    Provide context and don’t exceed three minutes when telling your story to keep from losing the audience’s attention.  Use colorful language and adjectives, especially when discussing intangible qualities such as the company’s culture and values, or who you are and what you believe.
  • Edit, rewrite and reality check your copy
    Mark Twain is often credited with saying, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Put another way, crafting a short, on-point message is not easy. You have to edit, rewrite and edit again to create svelte, powerful phrases and stories. And simplifying your message can help you drive sales and attract customers.

Do a reality check by practicing in front of colleagues and family. Ask them to discern your key messages or takeaways. If your intent isn’t crystal clear, rehearse, rehearse and then rehearse some more. “Practice actually makes you feel more comfortable and helps you seem relaxed, natural and conversational,” says Tardanico. “Comfort is not only contagious, it makes your audience more receptive to your ideas.”