By: Jeff Heisner
Albert Einstein once said, “any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” It doesn’t take an Einstein intelligence to understand what he’s saying… Keep it simple. If it’s good enough for Einstein, it should be good enough for you and your business.
A major issue many companies and professionals run into during media interviews or in public speaking is confusing the audience. The message gets lost and is completely convoluted.
You’ve probably been in an audience when this has happened and looked around to see if anyone else understands what the speaker is trying to convey. It makes me feel like I’m back as a freshman at Central Michigan University in my first week of calculus class. The point is if you don’t simplify your message you run the risk of losing your audience and blowing a chance to communicate your message.
Here are three keys to simplifying your message.
- 1. Remember what’s important – Work on breaking down your message into it’s most basic and understandable components. Try to turn that message into an 8 second sound bite. Here’s a perfect example of how a simple, basic message works by remembering what matters, and in comparison what’s not important. Wheaties, the breakfast of champions. Wheaties-the General Mills cereal primarily comprised of a wheat and bran mixture baked into flakes. Which one are you gonna buy?
- 2. Know your audience – Many times the speaker/interviewee either forgets who their audience is or doesn’t understand how to communicate with that audience. Business owners and a number of spokespeople talk at a level way above their audience’s heads. If you know who you are talking to the chances are you will be better prepared to relate to them. Use analogies your audience understands, not analogies you think are clever. You wouldn’t give the same interview to Charlie Rose that you would to the View.
- 3. Leave out the jargon and technical talk – “He smacked a 51 off a hard pan, turned it 90 degrees around the pines and landed it 20 feet.” Only a few people may have understood that was a golf reference to Bubba Watson’s incredible sand wedge shot that hooked around the trees and landed on the green to help him win the Masters. Whether it’s golf, or any other industry getting too technical is a sure fire way to confuse your audience.