Articulate and get what you need

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Executive summary. TV commercials are 30 seconds long for a reason. If you learn to keep your message short, to the point, and interesting, people will listen to you.

Milo Frank lays out the steps in this wonderful gem of a book.


1. Keep it to 30 seconds. People have a short attention span. It works for TV commercials. Three Basic Principles: Knowing what you want, who can give it to you and how to get it.

2. The Objective. Your objective is your goal, purpose or destination. You can have only one objective. In every form of communication, your thoughts and words should introduce, reinforce, or help you achieve your adjective. You do not have to state your objective except to yourself.

3. The Audience. Go to the right person, the person who can give you what you want. Know as many facts about the person's) you'll be talking to. Identify with your listener. What does he want from you, and what one thing more than any other will get a favorable reaction from him?

4. The Right Approach. The single thought or sentence that will best lead to your objective. The right approach will also take into consideration the needs and interest of your listener. It will give you focus and keep you on track toward achieving your objective.

5. The Hook. A statement or an object used specifically to get attention. Use your hook as the first statement in your 30 second message. It should relate to your objective, your listener, and your approach. A statement, dramatic or humorous. If it's a question, it must be answered. Anecdotes or personal experiences are excellent hooks. Your entire message can be a hook. Keep a hook book.

6. Your Subject. Catch them, Keep Them, Convince Them. What, who, where, when, why and how. Know your subject and present it as concisely and forcefully as possible.

7. Ask for the order. Action close calls for specific action within a specific time frame. The reaction, reverse-psychology close is the strategy o use when your best chance is to ask indirectly. Decide your close in advance.

8. Paint a picture. Imagery, colorful pictures. Clarity: don't use technical terms just to sound knowledgeable. Personalize it with a story. Use emotional appeal - touch the heart.

9. Spotlight on you. How you say it matters as much as what you say. First impressions: pen vs. pen in a box with a ribbon tied around it. SMILE! Inspires confidence and understanding, and makes a good first impression. Eye contact establishes sincerity. Every little movement matters. Posture reveals what you think of yourself and of your listener. Self-awareness. What you wear sends powerful signals, and shows you care. Facial expression: goal is spontaneity and sincerity. Be prepared and care about what you're saying. (Passion) Body Language: stand, don't sit. Voice: animation, enthusiasm, variety, informality, sincerity, color & variety, modulate your volume. Use pauses.

10. One or a Thousand: Great communication. Establish intimacy with your audience by making them feel that you're talking directly to them. Master, not memorize. Outline your talk: objective, approach, subject, hook, 5Ws. Start and finish without 3x5 cards. Stop talking if you look at notes. Even before you start, make eye contact with audience. Variety. Write an introduction for your introducer. Always leave them wanting more.

11. Any time, any place. The question turnabout: "you're absolutely right, and one other point is.." Know your objective, listener and approach before making any business phone call. The rules of the 30 second message also apply to memos, Thank You letters, and toasts.