In yesterday’s email, I promised you a super-sneaky way to always end on a clear and decisive point.
This is an important lesson to learn.
If you’re in business and you can’t clearly communicate what you do, who you do it for and how you do it, you’re in trouble.
It’s helpful to think of this point being the “punchline”, but only as long as this doesn’t make you think you have to be funny.
(If you need a memory aid for this, just picture my face – that’ll immediately make you think “UNFUNNY”)
The punchline doesn’t have to be funny…
… but it should be short and punchy.
A “punchyline” if you will.
(Though you probably won’t)
You might think that YOUR message doesn’t need to be short and punchy.
You might think you can just “wing” your 60-second pitch, and that the crowd will “get” what you’re on about.
You probably can wing it, and you’ll probably do OK, but when you’re talking about your business, it literally pays to be crisp, powerful, and compelling.
I love the example William Zinssner quotes in his book, “Turtle Massaging For Beginners”*.
* Probably not the exact title. I’ve not read it for a while.
It was a memo President Franklin D. Roosevelt received in 1942 about the blackouts.
Don’t bother getting up to find your copy… I’ll paste it here for you:
“Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non-Federal buildings occupied by the Federal government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination.”
“Tell them that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows.”
The most powerful and compelling copy can be all manner of things, but it’s always well thought out.
The problem comes when you start speaking or writing without the foggiest idea where you’re going to end up.
You’re just praying that you’ll magically come up with a conclusion while endlessly spewing words at your audience.
This sounds halfway logical, but it’s a terrible way to structure a piece of writing.
I’ve written about this before in a previous email, but it’s such an important point, it’s worth going over again.
Start at the end.
Come up with your conclusion first and then work backwards.
When you know exactly how you’re going to finish, everything else becomes easier.
You’re more focused and far less likely wander off-topic, like that time I went to Pets At Home, you know to buy a new dog leash. Turns out, that they’d sold out, but we’re having some new ones delivered later that day, by a man called Kevin. The weird thing is… my geography teacher was ALSO called Kevin. Anyway, turns out this Kevin failed Geogr…
I’ll save you from the rest…
So… the super-sneaky way to end on a clear and decisive point?
START with a clear and decisive point.
See you tomorrow,