The manager’s presentation has begun, and you’re anxious to hear what he has to say.

The sales results for most markets are disappointing. There may be a number of reasons for this. Our biggest competitor launched a new model last quarter. Analyzing the sales in detail, we have found that there may be a particular strength in the northeast market…

You want to stay alert. You suspect that there is information being conveyed that will help you be more successful. But for the life of you, you can’t figure out which tidbits are important.

Being on the receiving end of a fact-filled and confusing presentation is tough. Being the deliverer of a key message is hard work too. When you’re in the presenter’s seat, how do you use laser-like focus to ensure that people leave with the information they need?

One point. People only remember one thing. That might be overstating reality, but a one-point rule is an excellent guide for making sure your most vital message gets through.

  • Make it no longer than a short sentence
  • Use simple language, not big, beefy words
  • Support this main point with no more than 3 sub-points
  • Repeat the key message several times

One picture. Visual images are powerful and can help people understand and retain ideas. For a phenomenal resource, read  The back of the napkin: Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures by Dan Roam. Not artsy? Use a simple photo to convey a complex idea. A metaphor can also create a picture. Humanergy uses “feed/seed/weed” as a metaphor for developing others, and gardening images cement the idea in people’s minds.

One plan. What is your call to action? What changes will be made? Who will do what by when? This is the “so what?” section of your presentation, where you clearly articulate the action plan.

No matter how clear you think you’ve been, ask listeners to restate your message in their own words. You may find that you haven’t been as direct as you think. As Robert McCloskey said, I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

“One point, one picture, one plan” will ensure that messages are focused and unmistakable. You’ll avoid confusion and be a lean, mean communication machine.

Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!