A message is that part of your talk or presentation that you’d really like the audience to remember. It’s sometimes called a soundbite, a tagline or a takeaway message. It’s really a very concise way to sum up the whole presentation. When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone launch in 2007, he concluded his opening with the phrase, “Today Apple reinvents the phone.” This was the big picture message. It sums up the whole campaign. It was used in press releases, on Apple’s web site and through the tremendous amount of reporting that followed the launch. It announced a strong statement and positioned Apple as new player in the emerging smartphone market. All in five words.
However, a message is not a message unless it is repeated. That was the real power behind such a simple message. It’s easy to repeat and pass on. It’s an idea virus, made popular by marketing guru in his ebook Unleashing the Idea Virus, which claims to be the most downloaded ebook ever.
Once you’ve decided on your message, don’t rush through it. Plan where you will use it throughout your talk. Place it on your slides or on posters around the room. When it comes time to say the message, slow down your pace a touch and articulate each word clearly. I’ve heard many business speakers, rush through an important message so that the audience can’t catch the full impact. A good message should stick as-is in everybody’s head. If you asked individuals leaving the room after your presentation what the main message was, 90% of them should be able to recite it word-for-word. The other 10% should be able to catch the main idea. If not, you missed your chance.
In contrast to the iphone launch, the 2011 launch of the ipad used the tagline “iPad is a truly magical and revolutionary product.” This is less impactful. Eight words versus five. 9 syllables versus 17.
Make your message as tight as you can. Then deliver it slowly and clearly.