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Your soundbites can build competitive advantage and support for change

Whether you’re riding the elevator with the CEO, or you are the CEO conducting a media interview, or simply want to be more engaging as you speak, capturing attention within six seconds is a must for your leadership brand – including the value people place on YOU and your leadership skills.

In a world filled with highly competitive and distractive options for our attention, many bright, talented and well-meaning people blather on about various topics, having no clue that they’re boring the life out of their listeners. 

Set yourself apart, and be mindful about the value of speaking in soundbites!

You can sharpen up your speaking style so that others are more inclined to pay attention. You can ensure your valuable insights are not only heard by your audiences, but become noteworthy and even newsworthy.  And, you can light up a room with your presence by using the following techniques.

To speak in soundbites, use what journalists call pyramid-style packaging.  That is, you must create a bold statement with the most important information first, followed by supporting data, analogies, examples, rhetorical questions and appropriate humor.  That way, your most important bold statement becomes the headliner and is remembered.

Here are attention-grabbing techniques to help you speak with competitive advantage.

  1. Do not attend an event, meeting, or media interview without developing an interesting topic, message or statement—some key idea or point you want to advance. Perhaps it’s a new work project or company announcement, an innovative initiative, or something you’re excited about leading (without bragging). Create your own elevator speech where you advance your vital information. This becomes your speaking or meeting mantra.
  • Then, package your key point(s).  Share a bold or interesting statement backed up by a fact, an example, an analogy, or a rhetorical question.  Share the most important point first, supported by additional information. Think about your “sparklers” ahead of time, and practice them if you need to prepare for an interview or presentation.

As mentioned in my prior article, the best way to establishing urgency is to speak in soundbites.  That is, you must clearly and succinctly communicate the importance of your big opportunity, in the same way celebrities, spokespersons, and famous public speakers shape and craft their key messages.

It’s shocking how many people arrive to gatherings with nothing new to say. And when they say it, it’s drawn-out and boring!  Don’t let this happen to you.  While it can be rewarding and relaxing to have a slow-paced conversation with family and friends, most workplace colleagues have little patience for long stories.  In our digital world where people want to be informed and entertained quickly, you must learn how to get to the point.

Getting to the point quickly requires practice — and knowing your key messages!

When you have something important to say and want your message to be remembered, you’ll set yourself (and your stories) apart by speaking effectively in compelling soundbites. Your information must be interesting and worthy of attention.

And remember, big opportunity statements are:

  •  Short and clear,
  •  Rational,
  •  Compelling,
  •  Positive,
  •  Aligned with your organization’s strategic plan and goals, and
  •  Authentic.