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Good news!

Your audience has agreed to do the hard work for you.

If you think that you can’t boil your talk down to a simple core message, your audience will happily do it for you.

After your talk, when someone asks them what it was about, they will gladly provide an answer. Let’s call it the pass along phrase.

Here’s the thing:
That pass along phrase is always short.

If you can’t decide which of the 10 features was most important, they’ll pick one for you.

If you can’t focus on what it’s actually for, they’ll pick a focus for you.

And if the talk was somewhat confusing, they might just choose that fact: “I honestly don’t know what the talk was really about. It was somewhat confusing.”

The pass along phrase is always in their words.

They won’t bother with fancy language, tech jargon and the likes. They will choose language they are familiar with.

Let’s say it straight: You might not like their choice.

Which means that you might want to make your audience’s work of figuring out a pass along phrase as easy as possible.

You might want to pick a focus and use language your audience is familiar with.

Now, how do you make that task easier for your audience?

Aligned on a common path

This week, I’m asking one simple but important question each day for you to ponder (on your own or with your team):

As a CEO, it’s important that you find simple answers to all of these four questions about your business:

  • What you do
  • For whom you do it
  • Why you do it
  • How you do it

Now, if you asked every member on your team for their answer, how many different answers would you get?

After the pitch

After your pitch what happens?

Often a pitch doesn’t lead to an immediate decision: “Thank you very much, we’ll think about it.”

That’s why great pitches make it easy for the decision makers to speak about your idea as they try to make the decision. A great pitch has a very clear take away message that’s easy to pass along among the decision makers during that process or when they bring in others into the decision loop.

What’s your pass along message?

Getting likes

Speaking of what you want to be known for: Make content around that, not what your audience is giving you likes for.

What works in social media is not necessarily what works for your business.

What works for your competitor is not necessarily what works for you.

What works for the audience you had is not necessarily what works for the audience you want.

What do you want to be known for?

What do you want to be known for? You won’t believe how many businesses don’t have a compelling answer to that simple question.

And yet, every action they take contributes to their fame. Every product they release. Every keynote their CEO gives. Every post they publish. Every sales presentation they make. Every call to customer support. Every mail. Proposal. Conversation. …

If these actions are inconsistent, the story of that business will be fuzzy at best.

Hence, marketing.

Huge budgets are allocated to create a public image. Agencies come up with something that sounds good and looks good. But more often than not, that image doesn’t match what customers experience when they reach out, use the product, or are otherwise exposed to the business.

What do you want to be known for?
If you don’t decide someone else will.

The biggest lever to own what the public thinks of you is to find clarity about that yourself. Uncover what a) you’re incredibly good at, b) you are passionate about, and c) makes you a profit. Based on that define what you want to be known for. The shorter the better.

Then light the path for the whole team. When the path is lit brightly (and when it’s aligned to what the team aspires to) you can trust them to do the right thing. Their actions will be aligned with the path. And so, every action anyone in your business takes contributes to becoming known for the right thing.

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.

Spread the Word

Picture of Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz