Focus: The 30-second message
Having a 30-second message is a critical tool for advocacy. It can enable you to:
Focus your thinking
Focus your writing
Focus your speaking
Keep conversations on track
Prepare communications rapidly
Be more logical and concise
Be more effective and shorten interviews and meetings
Use questions and answers to make your point
Heighten your confidence
Get better results
The 30-Second Rule
In 1986, Milo Frank wrote How to Get Your Message Across in 30 Seconds or Less, a publication of Pocket Books. Frank's basic principle of the thirty-second message includes having a clear-cut objective, knowing your listener and what your listener wants, and having the right approach.
Have an objective - Having a clear-cut objective involves having a specific idea of what you want to achieve. Ask yourself some questions to help clarify your objective. What do I want to get out of this conversation and why? What is the best possible approach to use?
Know your listener – Knowing your listener and knowing what your listener wants from you can help guide you in reaching your goal. Learn as much as you can about your listener and try to identify with them and their position.
Use the right approach - Using the right approach involves thinking through what you are trying to say, what your strategy is,your core ideas, supporting information and how the information you are presenting relates to your listener.
Grab their attention - Start your message with an opening statement that grabs the attention of the listener. The opening statement should focus on something unique about your subject - perhaps the most unusual, interesting or humorous part of what you have to say.
Keep them interested - Make sure that your opening statement also relates to your objective. Be sure it relates to your listener as well and gives them a reason to keep listening. Opening statements sometimes involve visual aids. Sometimes they consist of anecdotes or personal experiences.
Ask for what you want - A message without a specific request is a wasted opportunity. A request for a specific action within a specific time frame is more likely to get results.
Paint a picture - The words you use should paint a picture that your listeners will remember. Be clear and direct. Personalize the message whenever possible. An emotional appeal can leave a lasting impression. After consistent use, the 30-second message becomes second nature. It creates a whole new mind set and transforms the way you think and deal with others. You will soon find yourself instinctively prepared and using it all the time.
Handling the Tough Questions
Not everyone will agree with your position. Here are some transitional phrases you can use to get back on track after a tough question:
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