Think straight, Speak Straight by using common, clear and tangible language and audience will pay attention and believe you.
The point I am going to try to model for you is simple: I want to provide a believable message about thinking straight, and speaking straight and it’s effect on you being perceived as a truth teller. To expand on this I want you to use a common language understood by all that is jargon free, be clear in what you want to do and say, make the message concise and tangible.
There are all sorts of ways language can communicate truth. Here are some solid facts for you:
- People usually judge that more details mean someone is more creditable
- We find stories that are more visual and vivid to be more true,
- To influence people provide concrete facts make think the events more likely. ( don’t overload with facts.)
Here is another study that gives us some guidance; by Hansen and Wanke (2010). There findings support the idea of getting to your point early and repeating it often but not with the same words is a powerful way to be seen as credible Don’t be vague or to general with your message; for example, ” We need more “green jobs” to reduce unemployment”. Instead be direct, concrete and keep your point simple to provide a compelling reason for action. For example, “We need 250,000 “green jobs” by 2012 to reduce unemployment to 8%
Abstract words are handy for talking conceptually but they leave a lot of room for misunderstanding, spin and confusion by the receiver. Tangible words, pictures or a physical object are aligned to something in the real world and they refer to it precisely. Solar panels and electric batteries is specific while green jobs could refer to anything that impacts the use of carbon..
Hansen and Wanke give three reasons why tangibility suggests credibility and “truth telling”
- Our minds process concrete statements more quickly, and we automatically associate quick and easy with true .
- We can create mental pictures of concrete statements more easily. When something is easier to picture, it’s easier to recall, so seems more credible and believable.
- Also, when something is more easily pictured it seems more plausible, so it’s more readily believed.
So, think and speak straight by making your message visual, concise and concrete and people will think it’s more true.
“Speech is power. Speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today I am going to summarize what it takes to make your messages “stick” with audience members. The Stickiness Factor, was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, in the book, Tipping Point. Gladwell defines a tipping point as: “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point… when ideas, products and messages lead to behaviors that seem to spread like viruses do. One of the most powerful examples of such “stickiness” and thus change in behavior is the rise in popularity of Sesame Street in children’s television programs. This program’s framework ushered in the development of message retention, diversity, combined with specific educational content, like learning the ABC’s and numbers with bilingual focus and through a climate of high energy, fun and entertainment. We reviewed the four C’s before –so remember to make your message sticky as a presenter–Be Confident , Clear, Concise and Compelling. Other ideas are as follows:
- Be Audience Centered. Grab their attention early. Start with getting them involved by asking a reflective question. Gather information on the needs and expectations of your listeners; so as to make your presentation interesting and appealing to them. What are their expectations? What are their attitudes toward you, your team, or your topic? What is their one learning goal for the presentation?
- Keep your Significant Overriding Objective (SOO) top of the mind. Is your goal to inspire, inform and present information or to persuade a committee or person to adopt and support your proposal? Repeat goal often and tie to specific examples.
- Get to the point. What are the key points you will make? How do you want to say them? What graphics will be used i.e., flip charts, PowerPoint, or a combination? Keep visual aids simple and to the point. Do you have any written material, handouts, sensory or tangible examples to show audience?
- Challenge their thinking. Present a surprising fact. Use examples, analogies, simulations, and stories to stick your message.
- Make you message clear, concrete, compelling, and consistent with the facts. The 4 C’s drive energy into the delivery and bring relevance to the participants.
- Be entertaining and extemporaneous while avoiding presenting too much information or “hop scotching” around from topic to topic. Speaking from notes or a key point outline makes the presentation smoother and more natural than reading a speech to the audience.
- Be natural in your style and passionate about the message. Emotions — getting people to care about our ideas involves making them feel something. When talking about litter on the highways an example is the Campaign in Texas “Don’t mess with Texas tapped into Texans feelings of pride.