So, what was the talk about?

I’ve listened to your talk. When I get back into my office, my colleagues ask: “So, what was the talk about?”

What should I respond?

You’d be amazed by how often people can’t answer this questions clearly and concisely. Too often, people will even start to repeat the presentation.

That’s not what anyone would respond to the question “What was the talk about?”, though.

That question is always going to be short and it’s always going to be in their own words, using their language.

Here’s the bitter pill: If you don’t decide what their response should be, you’re basically delegating that decision to your audience.

Because, once again, rest assured: They will have an answer. And they’re not going to ask you for support.

On the other hand, if you focus on that clear goal, you gain two things:

  1. You can be much more rigoros in your preparation so that the talk leads to that response.
  2. You can evaluate whether you’re talk delivered by asking someone that same question.

So, what’s your next talk about?

You have been granted a free wish

Congratulations! You have been granted a free wish: You can be known as the world’s premier resource for one thing. But one thing only.

What should it be?

(Now, turn that wish into reality by focusing on that thing for a month – or even better: a year.)

Struggle with focusing on a core message?

If you struggle with focusing on a core message, here’s some good news for you: Your audience will happily do the job for you.

The bad news? You might not like their choice.

Better to find the courage to focus yourself.

Each and every day, great ideas die.

Obviously, for these ideas it wasn’t enough to be great ideas. They failed to spread.

Ideas spread when they
i) resonate
ii) can be easily passed along

If an idea doesn’t resonate, no one’s going to want to pass it along. So, while you might think that it’s great, the harder problem is to make others see (not just tell) why it’s great.

If they do, they must also be willing and able to pass it along. They need to be able to easily say it in their own words.

If it’s hard to describe, they won’t even bother.

That’s why sometimes the inferior idea survives while the superior idea dies. One was communicated with clarity while the other was presented confusingly. Or in overwhelming length. Or using jargon.

I’d love your idea to spread. Can you make it easier for us to help you with it?

PS: Why not start right now by writing me a message about your idea? Just hit reply.

Greatest Hits

What’s your favorite greatest hits album?
How often did you listen to your favorite track on that album?

Interesting, don’t you agree? We easily listen to our favorite tracks 100 times without getting bored.

A similar observation is true when we look at the charts. Radio stations easily play current hits on heavy rotation a dozen times per day. We hear them really often.

Which is part of the reason why they become popular. The frequency is crucial to their popularity.

Now, think about your own messaging. What’s your favorite message? How often have you repeated it this week? This month? The past year?

What a difference, right?

Could it be that while you are super tired of your greatest hit message, your fans are not? Could it even be that your fans appreciate you repeating their favorite tune over and over? Much the same way you appreciate hearing your favorite tune on the radio?

What we want to be known for

It’s a very noisy world. And we’re not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us. – Steve Jobs

It is indeed a very noisy world and I think Steve Jobs’ take from 1997 has only grown in importance since back in the days when he said those words to introduce the “Think different” campaign.

The world is not going to remember much about us. Which is why we need to make sure that it remembers the right things. The things that we truly stand for and that we are proud to be associated with so that it fuels our motivation and inspires our actions.

This is not to be confused with a fancy sounding marketing slogan. Fancy is great. But it’s not the point – let alone the starting point.

The starting point is that people need to be able to find an anchor in our message.

To achieve that, we don’t need fanciness but clarity: Clarity about what we want to be known for and why that would matter to our audience.

With that clarity, we’ll be in a much better position to find the best wording that turns that clarity into a fancy slogan.

First comes clarity about what we want to be known for, only then comes the genius marketing plan, the communication strategy, and the actual implementation.

PS: The Crack the Clarity Code online course (https://crack-the-clarity-code) is designed to help you find that clarity.

When everything’s important, nothing’s important

This is the blueprint of most presentations, reports, pitches, websites, you name it.

Everything’s important. And therefore, nothing is important.

The thing is this: If you don’t pick what’s important you’re asking your audience to do it for you.

You might not be too happy with their choice.

Better to find the courage to do it yourself.

In one sentence

Many great products can be described in one sentence:

  • “The notebook for creative people.”
  • “The fastest acceleration of a production car ever.”
  • “The headphones that let you work in silence.”
  • “The blackest black paint.” (Black 3.0)

Here’s a simple test: Can a customer (not you) describe your product in one sentence?

PS: If not, then my new course “Crack the Clarity Code” might be for you. It’s launching today and you can get 10% off using code “IwantClarity” when you order in the first week.

Sweating the details

Focusing hurts. It means letting go of details. Details that we care about. Details that we feel we can’t possibly leave out. Details that are crucial to the conclusion that our product is superior to other offerings.

Here’s the catch: If you feel that you can’t leave it out because it would hurt your message too much, your audience will happily do it for you. There’s no way they will recall all of the 53 details that you’d like to share with them because you can leave none of them out.

There’s no doubt that the reason you are extraordinary at what you do is because you care. You sweat the details. You connect the dots.

But when it comes to communicating your product, there’s a crucial difference as sweating the details means something completely different.

It means condensing the details into a clear and concise message that’s the perfect summary of your details. A message that represents the details but is not just an enumeration of all the facts. Ideally, it’s a message that’s distinct from any other message because it’s only these details that lead to this message.

And so, focusing empowers.

Kind of remarkable

The Blue Man Group is kind of remarkable. Actually, it’s two kinds of remarkable: “built in” and “on top”.

Built in remarkable is the way they play the drums. They are highly skilled to get fascinating sounds out of unusual musical items (mostly drums). It makes for a remarkable show that people speak about (read: “make remarks about”) long after.

I call it “built in” because there would be no show without these elements. You can’t make a drum music show without playing some kind of drums.

But there’s another remarkable component to the Blue Man Group, the kind that I call “on top” remarkable: the blue skin color. They could make the same show without the makeup. But they choose not to. It’s built on-top of the actual product to make it even more remarkable.

So remarkable, in fact, that you can’t speak about the Blue Man Group, without mentioning that they are, well, blue men.

And thus, just because it’s on top doesn’t mean that it’s not essential. In fact, the Blue Man Group came to be because the three founders drew the attention of MTV due to their blue masks. The blue faces helped spread the word much more easily. The group understood that there was no shortage of remarkable music shows but a shortage of blue men making remarkable music shows.

Here’s the best part: once established, on-top remarkable becomes something that others can’t copy. While there are a lot of great music shows, there is no second Blue Man Group (other than their own worldwide shows, of course).

What kind of remarkable is your product?

Spread the Word

Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz