Crafting the Message Triangle

triangle-blue-equilateralIf you read the last post, you know about the power of three. Did you know you can use it to craft your entire presentation?

Many presenters struggle when they create their content. If they’re describing a study or project they’ve completed, for example, they may feel that they have to describe each step along the way. That gets tedious for the audience. It calls for more information than they can absorb. And there’s no need for it; your audience wants to be satisfied your effort was credible and understand its outcome, no more. Unless you are delivering a technical presentation, the rest is detail, and it is best left to a written report or an appendix.

So when you sit down to put your presentation together, ask yourself what three things you want your audience to remember when you’ve finished. That’s all they will take out of the room anyway. So what are the three most important things?

Now sketch a large equilateral triangle on a piece of paper and write one key point on each side of that triangle. Maybe your points are, 1. Our research was exhaustive; 2. The proposed solution has been used successfully by leaders in the industry; 3. Payback may be expected within three years.

Now, flesh those key points out with talking points. Under “exhaustive research,” you may note the industry standard for research, the number of sources you consulted, the credibility of those sources, and the number of work hours devoted to the task. Then perform a similar exercise with the other points.

When you’ve done this, you’ve finished the heavy lifting. Whenever you need to substantiate one of your key points, you can just reach up and take a talking point off the shelf.

And remember, repetition is your friend. That doesn’t mean saying the same thing five times in a row; it means coming back to your key points as you go along, like a singer comes back to a refrain in a song. Often, your talking points can accomplish that task, reminding listeners of a key point without actually using the same words over and over again.

There are several elements to good content, but this is one of the most basic: have three key points and keep coming back to them.  That will make your presentation memorable.