Minus: Apologizing. A lot of people open presentations with a disclaimer. “I rarely do this,” they say. “I’m a little unprepared.” “I’m completely nauseous.”
My advice: don’t.
2) Purpose statement: “I had to talk to you about the election in Massachusetts because the stakes are so high.”
Plus: “You” is a wonderful word to use when presenting. It keeps the presenter focused on the audience.
Minus: Unfortunately, he emphasized the word “election.” If he had emphasized “you” (“I had to talk with YOU”), it would have sounded more personal.
I began to wonder, does he even know who I am? Or is he just calling everyone in the entire state?
3) Main message: The main message was to vote for a specific candidate for Senate.
Plus: It’s important to have a main message, and it should be 10 words or less. (Misc. advice to the President: get a 10-word, benefit-driven message for health care reform).
There were three key points supporting the main message, which is just right. Three is a good number: 3 strikes and you’re out; 3 meals a day; the 3 Stooges.
I could go on, but that’s three examples.
4) Call to action: “A lot of people don’t realize there is an election on Tuesday. They don’t realize why it’s so important . . . So please, come out to vote . . .”
Plus: Clear, specific action.
Minus: The phrase, “a lot of people don’t realize” could be a nice way of saying that a lot of people are complete idiots. On the other hand, I did know there was an election, so I felt ok about that.
One last thing: the President forgot to leave his number. He’s probably wondering why I haven’t called back.
Tip: Got an important message? Whether it’s long or short, think it through.
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Consultant, author, speaker, and founder of express potential® (www.expresspotential.com), Paul Hellman has worked with CEOs, executives, and managers at leading companies for over 25 years to improve performance and productivity at work. His latest book is “Naked at Work: How to Stay Sane When Your Job Drives You Crazy,” and his columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and other leading papers.
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