…applying good structure to verbal and written communication is a huge topic for consultants. As a top management consultant you want to be understood, you want to persuade the audience and you finally want to move your client.
Have you ever tried to apply the scientific essay style to a client meeting? Or throwing all your researched facts and figures to someone in a monologue? Here is what we can learn from the news publishing world.
Everybody has a cut-off line. And it may be different for each individual person. Imagine how you are reading a newspaper. For some articles you only read headlines, for other the subtitle intrests you, sometimes the picture with the respective subtitle is enough. And for some breaking news you would read the full article, then go to background information on page 3 and read the two comments from correspondents on page 5.
Apply the same style to your verbal dialogue and even to your slide structure:
- Summarize whole story in one main message – the headline.
- Frame the headline by giving a subtitle with a bit more information.
- Summarize everything in an abstract – could be your executive summary.
- Go into further detail, explaining the full story again, but be sure to make the full loop to support your headline!
- If the audiene still wants more, go the further supporting material – this may be you backup section.
Get the idea? Whereever your audience stops reading or stops listening (and it will at some point, that is for sure), you want to make sure that your one key message sticks! In verbal communication, pause after each step and look for a positive confirmation to go on.
Thursday Night Flight is brought to you by Malte Müller Professionals. Sharing best practices for top management consultants on topics like communication, client handling, problem solving, appearance, and fitness. Check out www.mm-professionals.com for more material and free resources!