Master Your Message

Master Your Message Through Editing

“What did she just say? I”m totally confused! Is anyone else following this speech?”

You may have had these thoughts while listening to a workshop leader or presenter. You’re lost. You’ve stopped listening. And if you were near the exit door, you might step out.

Being trapped in an hour-long plus presentation or lecture where you feel lost is awful, isn’t it? 

But it’s not your fault. 

Maybe the presenter’s content or organization isn’t clear.
The presentation is too wordy.
Or the words fail to land the ideas with strength and conviction.

This speaker hasn’t made it easy for you to listen OR follow.

He or she is not communicating well. They are failing to LEAD the idea to its completion, and guide the audience (you!) along. 

Communication is an act of leadership.

Picture this: I’m coaching Danna on her TEDX Asheville presentation.
Danna hands me her speech script, and begins her presentation. Two minutes in, I quickly cross one hand over the other, gesturing: TIME OUT!There’s no doubt Danna thoroughly knows her subject. She is passionate and believes there is an urgent call for her message. These are all good components for a speaker to have before delivering a speech.The 2-minute TIME OUT is necessary because she needs some serious “message compression” – or stated more simply – an EDIT.  

Legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a full story in 6 words. His response, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Legend or not, it is possible to manipulate, mold and construct language that feels more like an arrow that will hit the bulls-eye each time. 

How do you use the art of editing to become a more powerful LEADER in your communication?  

It requires you to ask yourself the following:
Is this statement truly essential? If yes…
  • Can I say this more to the point, more directly?
  • Does this statement give my presentation momentum – is it moving forward or am I stuck in the details and data?
  • Is this written language or spoken verbal language? There’s a difference.
Here are 2 examples of how I helped clients get to the point. Say each one aloud:
Unedited Version
It struck us how brave and focused she’s been; how true she’s been to herself.
Edited Version
She is brave and focused. She is true to herself all along.
Unedited Version
In a sense that’s what you’re in the process of doing right here and now: transforming a required CME activity into something that is actually relevant and life-giving for you and your clients!
Edited Version
That’s what you are doing right here, right now: transforming a required CME activity into something relevant and life-giving for you and your clients!

Benefits of Editing

1. You have less words; therefore an invitation for more power-filled pauses.
2. More statements make a stronger message. Less “iffy, sort of, possibly” language.
3. Your thoughts and ideas are succinct.Your words, your message and you become an act of leadership. Because I can easily follow you, I’m able to listen more deeply to you and to my own story and how it relates to yours. I am changed by that interaction.Want to learn more? I personally love these: 

Pecha Kucha: The Art of Concise Presentations
Want some hardcore experience in editing? Sign up for Pecha Kucha night in your city.

PechaKucha, a presentation style format which 20 slides are shown for 20 secs. each (6 mins. & 40 seconds total) keeps presentations concise and fast-paced.

For Better Marketing, Be Concise
A easy to read, well organized and superbly useful blog from BrightPlanning for developing content for your business.

Six Word Stories/Memoirs
Smith Magazine, author of It All Changed in an Instant, a fourth collection of very, very brief life stories. The tiny memoirs are sometimes sad, often funny — and always concise.