They say less is more, but could this really be the case when it comes to the way we communicate? According to Mimi Goss, author of ‘What is Your One Sentence?,’ keeping your sentences short and concise is paramount if you want to catch people’s attention in today’s world of information overload and short attention spans.
When it comes to business, this is especially important. Long drawn out PowerPoint presentations and sales pitches will bore your listeners to tears, and chances are they won’t remember a word you said once you’ve finished.
Here are five tips to help you get more across by simply saying less:
1. Summarize your message in one sentence
The best pitches or presentations are those that can be summed up in a couple of words. To figure out how you would break down your message into one sentence, just ask yourself what you would say if you had just under a minute to get your point across.
Naturally, most of your presentations won’t be under the one minute mark, but by creating one sentence that sums up the point you are trying to bring across, you are able to identify and do away with any unnecessary parts that don’t really tie in with your main theme or are simply off topic.
Perhaps even more importantly, it gives your audience and listenersone clear and concise sentence or idea to take home with them, even if they don’t remember much else from your presentation.
2. Give only the details that are appropriate to your audience
Before you launch into an overly technical description of your sales figures or whatever else you are planning on discussing, think about your audience. Are they familiar with the terms and methods used in your line of work? If not, you should probably keep it simple and be as brief as possible.
Imagine you are a fisherman addressing a group of other fishermen. They’ll probably be interested in getting more details from you right? But if you were a fisherman addressing a group of people who’d never fished in their lives, they’d probably zone out completely if you started explaining what bait and tackle you used to catch the fish.
So consider your audience and decide which details are and are not necessary to go into based on their level of experience and interest.
3. Leave out unnecessary words
Just because you have been given 30 minutes to speak, doesn’t mean you have to fill the full amount of time, in fact, most people will probably be glad if a 30-minute meeting can be wrapped up in ten.
Don’t try to fill your time by using unnecessary filler words or leaving long pauses between sentences. If you have a speech written out, give it a thorough proofread and restructure or eliminate sentences that are overly wordy or don’t provide any additional value.
Making use of some short notes actually tends to be more efficient than writing out an entire speech as it will help you to come across more naturally and jump from point to point more quickly.
4. Be confident
No amount of flowery words and drawn out descriptions will make an audience believe in you unless you have confidence in yourself and in what you are saying.
A presentation that lasts no longer than a minute can actually be more powerful than a 30-minute one if you show confidence and decisiveness. When people can clearly see that you believe in what you are saying, it doesn’t matter whether you say it in 500 words or 50.
5. Use visual aids
Humans tend to respond much better to pictures and things they can see with their own eyes than they do to spoken or written words. If you have a presentation to make or want to convince someone of a certain idea or plan, use as many visual aids as you can get your hands on.
Use slides with pictures, use a cartoon, draw up a graph or put together a short movie clip. A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you let the pictures do the talking for you, you’ll find that you can get your message across without the need for long speeches or detailed explanations.
About the Author:
Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and finance blogger. He works as a business ninja at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of Business courses and Management courses. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick (at) oc.edu.au.