The other day, a friend was telling me about an article he’d read that had 15 points on how to maximise your life. It was incredible! It inspired him! But … the problem was, he could only remember two of the points.
Funny how that is, isn’t it? You watch five stories on the news, you only remember one. Your spouse asks you to buy seven things at the store, you only remember three. Your dad asks you to do four chores, and you remember to do … well, none.
Ok, so we ‘conveniently’ forget some things, but the truth about us humans – even the geniuses amongst us – is that we can never remember everything. But somehow, communicators and leaders seem to forget this little fact, and like gunmen spraying birdshot, we shoot our listeners and followers full of information. And before they’ve even left their seats or put down their Kindle, they’ve already forgotten 90% of what we just communicated.
If you want to be a useful communicator or leader, you need to make sure you stay concise and focussed. Make ONE POINT, illustrate it, circle back to it, and help your audience put it into practice. As Andy Stanley so succinctly puts it, “Memorable is portable.” If you want your message to be portable – ie. if you want people to put it into practice – then you need to make it memorable. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember ten points. I can do one, maybe two at best.
So if you’re struggling to contain yourself when writing or speaking, my advice to you would be: trim off the fat, get down to the core of what you want to say, and then WORK THAT THING to make it as memorable and inspiring as you can. I’m sure your 9 other points are incredible. Really, I’m sure they are! And because they are incredible, you don’t want to waste them all in one sitting. So as tempting as your “ten for the price of one” deal seems to you, give the bargain bin a skip and turn your ten points into ten individual messages. Your audience will love you, and you won’t have cheapened your communication.
Do you agree that memorable is portable? What tips do you have for making your messages stick?