Get Out of the Thicket


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President Obama’s current communication dilemma is one that faces anyone who attempts to sell, influence, or persuade. He has a lot of talking points, but no overarching or umbrella story or message that ties them together.

Tom Friedman captures his problem very well: “[Obama] has not tied all his programs into a single narrative that shows the links between his health care, banking, economic, climate, energy, education and foreign policies…Without it…his eloquence, his unique ability to inspire people to get out of their seats and work for him, has been muted or lost in a thicket of technocratic details. His daring, but discrete, policies are starting to feel like a work plan that we have to slog through, and endlessly compromise over, just to finish for finishing’s sake—not because they are all building blocks of a great national project.”

Lost in the “Slog”

Based on the extensive presentations training and coaching I do, I suspect your clients and other constituencies have the same feeling about most of the presentations they see as well. For example, in the digital world, I see presenters talk about their audiences, their metrics, and their technology (and everyone excels in all those areas, of course) , but rarely do I see a clear story line that pulls those assets into a compelling value narrative to really excite listeners to take action. To take another example, in the asset management world, presenters wax euphoric about their process, customer service, and, when possible, their performance, but, again, no clear value narrative that shapes those assets into a distinctive, compelling story. In research presentations, listeners will be shown beautiful graphs, charts, and spreadsheets, but, again, where is the story that ties all that information together?

Find Your “Story”

Look at all the information you intend to tell someone. Then, ask yourself, “At the end of the meeting, what is the single clear message that pulls my information together for my listeners? Plug that message in at the beginning of your presentation, reinforce it thoughout your information, and re-state it again at the end. President Obama has yet to do this. Hopefully, you are one up on the President.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Anne Miller
Internationally respected author, speaker and seminar leader, Anne Miller teaches sales people how to increase their business; coaches CEOs and senior management to communicate successfully to key constituencies; and enables technical people to transform complex information into simpler, meaningful messages.


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