Fear Public Speaking? Here are10 Truths about Memorable Messaging

Conveying a memorable message can be tricky, especially if you’re conveying a lot of information in a short amount of time.  It can be even frightening if you are presenting live (and don’t like public speaking). Here are ten truths to keep in mind as you craft your message:

  1. The best messages focus on how your message impacts your audience.
  2. Background is secondary to the message.  Include background, but only to reinforce key points of your message.  Don’t get bogged down in “nice to know” information if it detracts from the main message.
  3. Short sentences and short paragraphs are not always easier to understand than long sentences and long paragraphs.  Depending on the topic, short sentences can hinder understanding.
  4. The more technical information you have to convey, the more you need to break it up into small, easily digested bites (or provide breaks between message chunks).
  5. Generalities can help you convey your overall message, but the message won’t be meaningful until you fill in the details and make the message personal to your audience.
  6. Use simple sentences to convey ideas; compound sentences to balance or contrast ideas; complex sentences to qualify ideas.  Ideas need to be stated, but they also need to be balanced, contrasted, and qualified.
  7. Don’t be afraid to include in your message something your audience already knows; it can help them become comfortable with the rest of your message—even parts that may be new or worrisome to them.
  8. Illustrations should be used sparingly.  While a picture is worth a thousand words, ten PowerPoint slides are not worth ten thousand words. You want your audience to connect with you, not a screen.
  9. If a chart or diagram is more difficult to read or understand than the text it is replacing, it isn’t worth using.
  10. A strong, personalized, message—even poorly delivered—will get more attention, reaction, and follow-up than a mundane subject brilliantly conveyed.  (so don’t sweat it if you fear public speaking)

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