When I joined a new networking group last year, the kind where every week you speak for a minute about your business, I remembered a perfect little book from over twenty years ago: How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less, by Milo O. Frank. It’s full of practical tips on delivering a short message.
So I reviewed my notes from a class I taught based on this book. I’m including some of the tips here. They’ll help you focus your message in spoken, written, and video communications. Here goes.
Have a Single Objective
Your objective is your goal, purpose or destination.
- It is why you are there. You can have only one objective.
- In every form of business communication, your thoughts and words should introduce, reinforce or help you achieve your objective.
- You do not have to state your objective except to yourself.
- The FIRST BASIC PRINCIPLE of the 30‑second message is to have a SINGLE CLEAR-CUT OBJECTIVE
Go to the RIGHT PERSON, the person who can give you what you want.
- Know as many facts as possible about the person or persons you’ll be talking to.
- Identify with your listener. What does he/she want from you, and what one thing more than any other will get a favorable reaction from him?
- Knowing your listeners and what they want is the SECOND BASIC PRINCIPLE of the 30‑second message.
The Right Approach
The right approach is the single thought or sentence that will best lead to your objective. To me, this is the strategy to appeal to your audience. It’s about appealing to your audience’s motivation.
- The right approach will also take into consideration the needs and interests of your listener.
- The right approach will give you focus, and always keep you on track toward achieving your objective.
Knowing WHAT you want, WHO can give it to you and HOW to get it are the three BASIC PRINCIPLES of the 30‑second message.
A hook is a statement or an object used to get attention.To get your listener’s or reader’s attention, use a hook as the first statement in your 30-second message.
- Your hook should relate to your objective, your listener and your approach.
- Your hook can be a question or a statement, and it can be dramatic or humorous. If it’s a question, it must be answered.
- Anecdotes or personal experiences make excellent hooks. Your entire message can be a hook.
The subject explains and reinforces your objective.
- The subject contains and corresponds to your approach.
- What, Who, Where, When, Why and How are all part of your subject. The subject is what your 30‑second message is all about.
- Know your subject and present it as concisely and forcefully as possible.
Ask for It
A message without a specific request is a wasted opportunity. He who don’t ask, don’t get.
- Decide your close in advance.
Find More in the Book
This just scratches the surface. There’s lots more in the book to improve your spoken, written, and video communications