How to quickly and effectively convey your message
If it feels like it’s harder than ever to reach your audience, you’re not alone. In the mad rush to market, promote, and sell across every screen and platform, the audience has become desensitized to all attention-grabbing tactics. Tricks do not fool them, and they are not impressed by grand statements or promises. Everyone is suspicious of any attempt to sell them anything. This presents a severe problem for those that need to get their message heard and understood.
The reality is, anytime you try to influence anyone to do anything, their first impression is fully formed in less than three minutes (much less for some people). That “yes or no” is already in their heads. It’s not your fault. That’s just how people are.
A recent Microsoft study shows that the human attention span has been steadily decreasing and now sits at a paltry 8.2 seconds.
A goldfish is at 9 seconds.
You might think that social media and technology have turned everyone into dumbed-down, mindless, distracted zombies. But it’s just the opposite.
People today focus more intensely and efficiently. The proliferation of technology and the ability to get unlimited information instantly has created hyper savvy consumers that have zero tolerance for long-winded explanations, exhaustive chatter, or linguistic sales tactics. They will tune you out in an 8.2-second instant.
Audiences today want information. They want it quick, clear, and concise.
This seismic shift in our culture creates significant problems but also great opportunities.
In a world crowded with marketing and messaging, everyone seems to be yelling louder and louder. You don’t need to try to outshout them. You don’t need to say more or say it bigger. You can work smarter, not harder, speak softer, and get heard.
Here are three ways saying less will help you in your business.
- It Shows Confidence
Confidence comes from your belief in the quality and value of your information. Imagine if you needed to convince a client to let you cater their next event, and you had Gordon Ramsay as the chef. How many words would you need to convince them? Probably just four; I have Gordon Ramsay. Now imagine it was your brother-in-law who just got out of prison and needed a job. How many words would you need to try to sell them that idea?
Whatever you are proposing or communicating has a value that sits on a scale somewhere between Gordon Ramsay and an ex-convict brother-in-law. The more words you use will show your audience where you think your proposal sits on that scale. Your audience is incredibly sensitive to this. It’s almost become a subconscious response, the more they hear someone talking and explaining, the more they feel like they are being sold, and the less responsive they become.
- Go against the Grain
In 1929 Joe Kennedy said that the shoeshine boy was giving him stock tips, and that’s when he knew it was time to get out of the market. It’s always a good idea to zig when everyone is zagging.
Think of it like this; The more than five thousand residents of Niagara Falls were suddenly jarred awake when the mighty falls froze and stopped flowing. They were so accustomed to the sound of the thundering water that they tuned it out of their lives. The silence of the frozen falls was the loudest thing they had heard in years.
If you can simplify your communication down to the basic statements of value, without pomp and pageantry, you will cut through the noise of marketing overload. Today, someone who is clear and concise is like a welcome beacon to a weary traveler. You don’t need neuro-linguistic tricks, a fancy suit, or colorfully animated slides. Your simple straight forward information is all you need.
- Simple Is the New Sexy
The key is to separate everything you want to say from only what needs to be said. Today, people find clarity incredibly compelling. Someone who can simplify information and get to the point quickly and concisely wields tremendous power and influence.
A quick method to help you identify, evaluate, and order the most important elements of any pitch or presentation is called the W.H.A.C. method. The acronym consists of four questions:
- What is it? – anything that explains the concept.
- How does it work? – the function or how you operate.
- Are You Sure? – where you use facts, figures, logic, or reason to validate.
- Can you do it? – who you are and how your audience takes action — things like price, availability, what happens next, etc.
Answering these questions in this order will help you simplify your information into a compelling narrative structure that will help lead your audience to the right conclusion.
The best way to get started is to grab a set of Post-its or index cards and a marker. Break down what your business, product, or service offers into simple bullet points. This allows you to see your message in simplified language, and the ability to physically move and sort your bullet points helps you process the flow of the information.
By doing this, you’ll find that in a chaotic attention-starved culture, it’s not the ones who shout the loudest that get heard. You can say less to get more.
Written by: Brant Pinvidic
Brant Pinvidic is a producer, entrepreneur and the author of The 3-Minute Rule: Say Less To Get More From Any Pitch Or Presentation.