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Leave Them With a Memorable Message Part Two — Dos and Don'ts
In the previous issue, I discussed the importance of preparing for a talk or media interview by developing specific messages you want to communicate. In PR terminology, these are called key messages. I suggested getting started creating your messages by writing down two or three points you want the reporter or audience to remember. (See May 2007 PR Tip Of the Month.)
Dos and Don'ts For Creating Memorable Messages
Here are a few tips for sharpening and refining what you have written.
- Be concise
This is first on the list, because I think it's the most important. A message that is longer than a sentence is difficult to remember. People have a hard time grasping, and listening to, long explanations.
- Be memorable
Use humor, a clever analogy, a surprising anecdote, a poignant story, or interesting data to illustrate a point.
- Use descriptive language
Comprehension increases when people can visualize what you are saying. For example, the phrase, "hail the size of golf balls," paints a clear image in the mind, while simply saying, "really big hail," does not.
- Be honest
Don't obfuscate, lie or try to mislead. You must be truthful to be credible.
- Be positive
Negative statements will reflect poorly on you.
- Don't use jargon
Use common words that most people would understand. If you must use technical terms, explain them.
- Don't sound like a commercial
You will lose credibility, and hard sell statements will get edited out of news stories and articles.