Audiences are ruthless. When, after a talk, someone asks an audience member: “What was the talk about?” they are going to answer with a short reply. In their own words. Every time.
In particular, there’s no way an audience member will reply with a 30 minute verbatim copy of what we said. We’ve had our chance during the talk. But once we’re finished, the audience is in control. Whatever they pass along, we must live with it.
In a way, that’s good news as it forces us to focus. Because if we don’t focus, our audience will happily do it for us. It’s much better to stay in control and focus our story on a concise message that people can and will pass along. Because only when we do, can we craft our talk such that that’s going to work.
Remember, audiences are ruthless. If we don’t provide them with a clear and concise message they will just craft their own.