Telling Your Story: Good messaging is simple and clear
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
“Damn the torpedoes, full . . .”
“Ask not . . .”
“I have a . . . ”
Most Americans can complete all of the phrases listed above — even if we don’t remember who said all of them or precisely why.
Good messaging is simple, clear and easy to remember. It’s like the punch line of a joke. If you have to explain it, it doesn’t work.
Hearing a joke once is usually enough. It loses its punch after that. Your message is just the opposite. The more you repeat it — and the more the rest of us hear it — the more powerful it becomes.
Make your message simple. Follow the 15-second rule. If you can’t say it in 15 seconds or less it’s not clear enough and simple enough for the rest of us to remember it. Sounds easy. It isn’t. Coming up with clear, simple messaging is hard. And it’s essential if you want to be heard and understood.
To be remembered, your message has to be relevant to your audience. Speak to their needs, fears or desires. And repeat it as often as you can. Once you’re so tired of saying it that you can’t stand listening to yourself the rest of us are beginning to hear what you’re saying.
Two books I strongly recommend if you want to add power to your message are Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s what People Hear by Dr. Frank Luntz and Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?