Say More by Saying Less, Writes the Author of ‘What Is Your One Sentence?’
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG by Mimi Goss, Author, "What Is Your One Sentence?: How to Be Heard in the Age of Short Attention Spans" (Prentice Hall/Penguin, April, 2012)
In our world of information overload and short attention spans, what does it take to grab people’s attention? A good concise sentence will stop people in their tracks.
Consider these memorable sentences:
“Your music, your sound—it’s your friend for life.”—Yo-Yo Ma
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”—Oscar Wilde
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”—Steve Jobs
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”—Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca
"What Is Your One Sentence?,"my new book published by Prentice Hall/Penguin, shows you how to be a better communicator by boiling down your message into one sentence that captures your listener’s attention, moves your ideas forward, and helps you gain confidence.
Your one sentence is the irreducible part of your message you want your audience to remember.
We recall memorable one sentences because they are concise, thought-provoking, and easy to say. They also suggest a dialogue with another person or people. And they show a fresh way of looking at a topic.
The book includes a 12-component method for creating a powerful sentence, examples from celebrities and other talented speakers and writers, exercises to test your new one sentences with your real audiences, and a communications framework I use in my work with clients and students.
How do you create a memorable one sentence?
“When there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong,” said Ella Fitzgerald. The legendary singer’s inspiring sentence illustrates several of the 12 components of a memorable one sentence offered in my book.
Fitzgerald’s one sentence encourages a dialogue: She engages in an implied conversation with her listener. Her sentence involves people: She suggests to the person listening to make decisions based on love and inspiration. Her sentence is in a style authentic to her. Anyone who has heard Fitzgerald’s singing voice can hear in her sentence her elegant, warm style.
Creating one sentence that defines your message for an important meeting, report, or conversation helps you cut through mental clutter. You discover your gem of a thought, until then, hidden probably even from you.
We live in an age of tweets and sound bites. Ideas worth expressing usually need more than one sentence to flesh them out, and thoughtful discussion takes time. Yet, people are busy. Can we expect them to sift through hundreds of words, sentences, and paragraphs to find the one point—the one sentence—that explains the whole?
I'm hoping that my book, "What Is Your One Sentence?" offers an approach to help you lead with your key message. If you distill its essence and your goal into one sentence, you can move your ideas forward, solve problems, and achieve your goals—more efficiently.
You learn to speak from the deepest sense of yourself—who you are, what you want to communicate, and to whom. Explain your main point in one memorable sentence—as the ancients handed down wisdom in proverbs—and your audience will quickly grasp your focus. As Jane Austen quipped about brevity, “It was a perfect visit;—perfect in being much too short.”
Your one sentence will help you be a better communicator fast.
Mimi Goss is the author "What Is Your One Sentence?: How to Be Heard in the Age of Short Attention Spans" and the president of Mimi Goss Communications, Inc., www.mimigoss.com, a firm that specializes in showing people how to identify and best communicate their messages. She lives in Boston.