How to Get Your Point Across in Fewer Words
When you address clients and prospects, you are a techie talking to non-techies. There is always the threat that you will confuse your listener and we all know by now that people don’t buy what they don’t understand. Many are the Advisors who have talked themselves out of commitments.
One way to mitigate this danger is to get our message across in as few words as possible. Advisors who can do that gather a lot of assets.
Thomas Jefferson famously said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
I know you know that the idea is to keep it simple. What you may not know is how to do that.
First and foremost, keep your vocabulary succinct.
Never make your listener reach for a dictionary.
Secondly, speak clearly.
Slow down if you should.
Thirdly, use analogies to make the unfamiliar familiar.
When explaining a complicated subject like investing, the challenge is to help the listener connect the dots. You don’t want your message to be complex. You want your message to be memorable.
Ask anyone who saw the movie Forrest Gump what they remember and he or she will tell you that life is like a box of chocolates. Decide the point you want to make and fashion a simple analogy that drives home that point.
Number four, never wing it.
Know what you want to say before you begin talking and stay on familiar ground. Before you can make your speech simple and easy to understand, you must know your subject matter cold. Never try to explain something you don’t fully understand. Einstein was right when he said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
A fifth suggestion is don’t be afraid to be creative.
Amazon.com made shopping on the internet seem easy when it introduced its now famous shopping cart logo.
Lastly, learn two or three simple stories and tell them over and over again.
You need a few stories because one story will not work with everyone. Every ad on television is a little story. Budweiser sells a lot of beer with little stories about horses and puppies.
It’s not easy keeping it simple, but it can be done.
Begin today to simplify your speech. Start with your presentation. Remove every word that is not necessary. When you have done that, all that will be left is the necessary. It’s the necessary that people will find compelling.
With just one thousand words, we can string together the Lord’s prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Hippocratic Oath, a sonnet by Shakespeare, the Preamble of the Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and have enough left over for just about all of the boy scout oath.
To quote Antoine de Saint Exupery, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”
One final piece of advice: Don’t worry about being too simple.
It is nearly impossible to oversimplify. After all, Ernest Hemingway has been credited with writing a six word novel. “For sale: Baby shoes, never used.”