Pointed Communications

trade Show Booth - Crowd Watching Presentation While Carpets Being Rolled-up

A relative of mine tells her stories … for hours … before ending them with her point.

Good thing she isn’t in marketing.

Get to the point quickly, then fill in the gaps. I was recently reminded of this while being a judge for the CODiE awards. I think I’m in my 573rd year of being a CODiE judge. The contestant’s presenter launched into a live demo of the product without summarizing what the product did much less its key value propositions. Thankfully he skipped the all-too-common dozen or so slides providing background about the company and other snore generators. He was like my relative, all too eager to tell his story as opposed to telling me why I should care.

trade Show Booth - Crowd Watching Presentation While Carpets Being Rolled-upWith attention spans shrinking fast as content explodes, getting to the point becomes ever more important. Telling people why they should care up front causes them to care. When people care, they stick around to hear your story. The photo here is of me presenting at a conference on the last day, while the show workers were rolling-up the carpet. Because I got to the point and had information that the audience now knew they cared about, they stayed after the show had closed.

Getting to the point also allows your audience to understand their time investment and outcomes in advance. Such foreshadowing makes hot prospects stay, but allows non-prospects to move along though they understand your value and may communicate it to someone who is a hot prospect.

Many marcom “pros” appear to be frustrated authors, more in love with their prose than the effectiveness of their communications. Marketing communications isn’t about being elegant. It is about communicating what the audience needs to know in the shortest amount of time possible. There is a reason great companies take time to develop elevator pitches and ensure everybody in the company can recite them on command. Doing so guarantees that any potential prospects will know what they need to know in 15 seconds or less.

Summarize, then explain. Start with the end, fill in the blanks, then end with the end. Value before features, benefits before details.


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