Today’s constant barrage of information may leave prospects and customers bewildered and exhausted. According to a study at the University of California, the average American consumes 100,500 words on an average day.
Peaking and listening
Humans can speak at a rate of about 150 words per minute, while the mind can process about 750 words per minute. A prospect’s mind may wander while you speak. To keep their attention, try to get to the point immediately. Trim, trim and trim. You never want to just spill out every thought that enters your mind. Edit, and then edit some more.
Salespeople who get to the point immediately and get their messages across quickly in the clearest, most concise way may have an advantage over their wordy colleagues.
Communicate with a “why” approach. Hit your major points hard and revisit them throughout your presentation. “Why” is the core of your message. Prospects and customers will find it impossible to understand what you’re trying to say if you don’t supply “why” reasons.
Seven capital sins
Here are seven capital sins that sabotage brevity:
- Cowardice. You need to communicate about a subject involving numerous perspectives and ramifications. You feel you must fully explain each of these aspects, because you’re afraid to leave anything out.
- Confidence. You know the subject so well you could easily go on for hours.
- Callousness. You fail to respect the time needs of your customers or prospects.
- Comfort. Once you begin to speak, you feel so comfortable that you don’t want to stop.
- Confusion. Your mind juggles diverse details about your product or services. Trying to blurt out all of this information at the same time may be a mistake.
- Complication. You believe your presentation is too complex to explain briefly.
- Carelessness. You include things in your presentation that don’t belong.
Three proven strategies
Here are three proven strategies to make brevity the signature element of your presentation:
- Map it. Plan your presentation. Try not to improvise. Outline your primary ideas and plan the way they will connect. It will give you a clear understanding of what you want to communicate. Outlining also helps organize your thoughts and will help you get all your points across.
- Tell it. Prospects and customers love to hear a good story. Rather than boring prospects and turning them off, use narrative storytelling as a primary component of your presentation. Storytelling conveys your points quickly and makes your presentation clear, concise and compelling.
- Talk it. Prospects dislike long stories, which may bore them. A light, conversational, to-the-point style engages them. Keep your stories short and communicate their information in a “why, how, who, when, where and what narrative.”
Adapted from: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less, by Joseph McCormack. He is the founder of BRIEF Lab and consults with salespeople on how to disseminate their messages clearly and briefly.