Sound Important, Look Important, Be Important – How to Convey Important Messages?
COVID-19, USA Presidential Elections, Singapore Parliamentary proceedings – all these events are examples of conflict/tough communication scenarios where one has to convey important messages. As we watch how key figures (e.g., politicians, societal leaders) grapple with these issues, the one core skill that is constantly engaged is their public speaking and communication skills. When tasked to deliver a difficult, but important message, how should you present it?
While we may not encounter as challenging as the situations above, you may find yourself in an equivalent position. It could be a message to your team or an uplifting speech to give to your company. The same question still applies. To present a key or important message in a public speaking setting, you may need to keep closer scrutiny in terms of your content/message. Beyond your speech delivery, your message should not be diluted by a lack of clarity. Instead, you want your key message to remain memorable in your audience members’ mind.
Here are 3 tips you can use to ensure that your key or important message is delivered effectively to your audience!
Tip #1: Shine the Light
Structure is key – it is the vessel through which your main message will be delivered to your audience members! One of the key elements of a clear structure is a broad and complete overview at the outset. For an important message, one key aspect of the structure is the overview. The overview at the outset helps to set out the crux of your message and the supporting details that your audience members need.
While your overview should be simple, it should not sacrifice key details that may lead to a misunderstanding or misapprehension of your message. For example, if you are delivering a corporate update to your team (and a potentially unpopular message at that!), avoid fidgeting around the main issue. Instead, give an overview of the message first to ensure that your team is not left wondering about it distractedly during your sharing. If you have only a few minutes to share your important message, how would it be phrased?
Tip #2: Chart the Path
The other necessary component of delivering an important message is to keep your destination in mind. In short, where do you plan to bring your audience to? You may have included this at the start, but your destination should continue to drive your main message throughout your delivery. Avoid distracting content that may make you appear shifty or suspicious. Rather, project sincerity by being upfront about the eventual destination.
What tools can you use to chart the path for the audience? One technique you can use is to create an action plan conclusion. If your important message requires action (e.g., we need to cut cost, we need to save more), you can add a clear, coherent, and confident action plan as part of your conclusion. Aside from showing your clarity of thought, it motivates your audience members into action with you, to the shared destination!
Tip #3: Create a Sound-Bite
Finally, as with any important message, one barometer of the success of your delivery is in the retention of the message. Can your audience recall the important message? This may be particularly significant if you require your audience members (e.g., your team, the Board) to take up a certain action in line with your message. Your presentation should be memorable, with longevity in the main message.
Of course, we are not saying that your audience members must memorise your entire presentation! (if only!). Instead, help your audience to remember the key aspects of your speech by creating soundbites that your audience can take home. You can try to draft an easy one-liner, catchphrase, or acronym that captures the gist of your message. Alternatively, reiterate your main message through an effective summary or emphasis.
* For example… *
Let’s Be Important!
While every speech or presentation you deliver should aim to be memorable, speeches with important messages come with its own challenge. These may be messages that may not be palatable or easy for your audience to take in. In such a scenario, it is important to show your sincerity as a speaker to ensure that the message stays with them. Try the three tips above and let us know how they help you to convey your important message!
By The Way…
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