Friday, February 12, 2010

Simply Does It

Communications is critical in Rotary. Presentations to clubs, conferences and semianrs are an important part of Rotary communications. I thought the following tip from Alan Stevens "The Media Coach" from the UK is so good I want to share it.

The best speeches are often remembered by a single phrase. For example "I have a dream" or "They shall not pass" or "Yes we can". There are a number of things that make a speech "great", but one of the most important is simplicity. Look back at each of those phrases - just three or four words, each of one syllable. Yet they conjure up ideas and imagery which move people to action or remind them of the message of the speech.

An exercise that I often go through with clients is to find the simplest way of expressing their core message. We try to reduce it to just three or four simple words. If these words are repeated throughout a speech (a rhetorical technique known as anaphora), then they can be used later on by listeners to recall the message of the entire speech.

Sometimes, clients say to me "but my message is complex - it just can't be simplified". My response is always the same "Then how do you expect people to understand it?". Making a message simple is not patronising, or dumbing-down. It is allowing your idea to be understood by the largest possible number of people.

OK, maybe some messages can't be delivered in four simple words. Perhaps it may take five or six. But if you can't find a way to make your message really simple, then you are short-changing your audience.   See:

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