Extra! Extra!

Posted By on September 20, 2013

“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest”
― Winston Churchill


Short and Memorable

Churchill’s quip is as true of presentations and meetings as it is of speeches. Long windedness is, frankly, inconsiderate of the audience. So is using complex sentences, jargon and a litany of unbroken facts. In fact, one of the most valuable Top Ten Speaking Strengths™ today is clarity. People who have this strength make their point simply, instead of expecting the audience to decipher a complex message.

Some people are endowed with this strength. Others have developed it. If you need to develop this speaking strength, here’s some advice to get your started:

Identify your Headline


  • What is the key point you want to make?
  • What is the “heart of the matter”?

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? You may be surprised to learn that this step is often skipped. Especially by those who need to improve their clarity. Why? Because they interpret this advice as “know what you want to say” and they already know, generally, what they want to say. What is needed is to distill the key points down to their very essence. The gap between the general message and the headline is filled, literally, with lots and lots of words. Removing those unnecessary words will bring clarity. So, spend the time to identify your headline.

Less is More

Elaborate on your key point with vivid language. The force of a few words can be enormous and deepen our memory so illustrate, demonstrate, or illuminate.


“I have a dream. . .”

“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country . . .” and

“Tear down this wall.”

You might not be a public persona like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Presidents Kennedy or Reagan, but whenever you communicate, you can be remembered through the words you use. The next time you have a speaking opportunity, prepare to say less and leave your audience with something to remember.

Making a lasting impact in this multi-messaging world requires more discipline than ever before. Practice pays off and this exercise will help you to choose your words carefully. If you would like to do more and learn to deliver your message with passion and conviction, consider working with one of our coaches or attending our breakthrough seminar program Speaking for Impact.

Speaking for impact is not an accident. It’s a skill.  We would love to hear how you have used fewer words to make an impact. Please post a comment.


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