Speak without a clear message
Executives from technical disciplines, such as finance or engineering, often have a misconception that technical ability is more important than communicating effectively. The very skills that make technical experts successful actually prevent them from being promoted to senior management. They focus too heavily on process and small details when the situation requires something more concise. Unlike junior managers, a senior executive’s main role is to communicate a clear and compelling message.
Executives with presence understand how to tell the story behind the numbers, correctly balancing big-picture with small details. The best executives, such as Steve Jobs, communicate effectively using simple and concise language that conveys powerful and memorable messages. Jobs has honed this skill over the years and his product launches contain such gems as, “Today, Apple reinvents the phone” from the 2007 iPhone launch. This ability to express a situation in its simplest terms is often overlooked by technical executives. However, all effective executive communicators have mastered this art.
Here are some examples of four word messages which can be used as an “umbrella” message or overall message for a pitch, presentation, change initiative or campaign. Once you have an umbrella message, each supporting section would also be given a short message to summarize that section of information:
“Better city, Better life” from Shanghai Expo 2010.
“The best-run businesses run SAP”from SAP Advertising campaign.
“Stay hungry, stay foolish” – Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford, 2005.
“Real Estate for Your World” from Century 21.
“The Ultimate Driving Machine” from BMW.
“The Company for Women” from Avon Products, Inc.
“Expect More. Pay Less.” from Target Corporation.
“Photonics in the Fast Lane” from Thor Labs.
“The Miracles of Science” from DuPont.
Taken from the book “Speaking with Purpose: “How to present ideas that matter in 18 minutes or less”. Learn more about the workbook here.
About the Author
“Warwick helps C-level executives, working in multinational companies based in Greater China, who need to become more confident and effective in their spoken communications. Warwick helps the executive project a clear message allowing them to express their opinions powerfully and gain respect from senior managers even when under pressure.”
Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.