If you don’t know your KEY take-away, how will your audience?
When I come home from a conference, my husband always asks me, “what did you learn”? And if I’m lucky, I can go through my memory of the schedule and pick out one key thing I learned from each talk. As a speaker, do you know what you want this one key thing to be, or are you leaving it up to chance?
Nancy Duarte calls this notion of a key take-away “The Big Idea”. She says in her book Resonate that a Big Idea needs to be:
• Your unique point of view on a topic
• A clear statement of what’s at stake for those who DO or DON’T adopt your point of view, and
• It needs to be written in the form of a sentence.
For instance, let’s say you’re giving a talk on social media and you title the lecture “The Importance Of Social Media”. What does that mean? Will you spend time going over social media’s history, user statistics, all the various forms of social media, etc? And if so, what am I as an audience member am I supposed to get out of this?
I recommend before you write your talk, spend time following Duarte’s construct. Using this same example, you realize your unique view is that social media is more than just a photo gallery, it is a way to build and maintain relationships. You might assert that using social media correctly can either grow or shrink your network. So your ultimate “Big Idea” statement might be Learn To Use Social Media To Build Relationships. Now, when putting your talk together, you can easily see that history, statistics and formats are irrelevant. Instead, you can tell stories. Maybe you open with a story about how before social media, you were trying to find a new CPA for your business. You had to call your friends and ask them one by one. Contrast that with today. Just last week you posted a request for a good desktop publishing software on Facebook. Lots of people responded and one friend even introduced you to a graphic designer! The remainder of your talk should focus on best practices on how to build relationships using Social Media.
You see, audiences don’t want more content, they want clarity! A confused mind always says no, so don’t obfuscate the key point with extraneous details. You select what your KEY take-away will be and ensure that the message comes through loud and clear.