This post was written by Hannah Morris, Facilitator and Coach at The Latimer Group.
Have you ever found yourself struggling to respond to the question, “What’s your presentation about?” or “Why were you meeting with X?” or “What was in that report you sent?”
When asked to create concise summaries of complex topics, many of us struggle to simplify our message into a quick sound bite. This can be especially hard when we are a subject matter expert and need to synthesize a vast network of knowledge and understanding into 50 words or fewer.
What we need in these moments is the ability to articulate our persuasive point of view, which is the ultimate output of the process of developing a message, and a critical element of effective communication.
Let’s consider what that looks like.
At The Latimer Group, we like to think of the message-development process like a funnel. At the top is a vast, amorphous topic with a wide scope. Our topic could be something like an inefficient report-production process, or increased sales efforts in Q3, or our company’s value proposition. Each of those topics could take many different directions.
To whittle our topic down into a message we use the filter of the GAP Method: knowing our goal(s), understanding our audience, and mapping our plan. Taking those factors into account by answering a series of questions enables us to create a message that is clear and simple to deliver, relevant and valuable for a specific audience, and focused on action and outcome.
But we’re not done there. To have true message awareness and agility, we need to be able to see our message in its most basic form: our persuasive point of view. Our persuasive point of view is one or two sentences that encapsulate the entirety of our message and what our audience needs to hear in order to care and ultimately act. The clearest parallel is the thesis statement of the essay we wrote in high school, college, or graduate school.
And it is the perfect answer to all of the questions that caused us issue above.
Once we know and are able to express our persuasive point of view, we will be able to deliver our message in 50 words, or 1,000 words, whichever best matches the appetite of our audience. This means that if our meeting gets shortened unexpectedly, we will have no problem adapting on the fly and ensuring that the crux of our message gets heard.
In Part 2 of this post, we will provide illustrative examples to deepen understanding. In the meantime, we encourage you to practice this skill by taking a moment to consider the important conversations you have in the course of your workday – whether they are live, verbal discussions or email exchanges – and see if you can articulate your persuasive point of view for each.
We believe that great communication skills change the world. We transform people and organizations of all sizes with simple, repeatable techniques, through an integrated platform of corporate training, coaching, and asynchronous learning.
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