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A better bumper sticker

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

If you’re really smart, public speaking can become your nemesis. Your speeches may turn into data dumps in which you share everything you know—along with reams of supporting material—to the point where no one cares.

Even if listeners want to understand your message, their minds may shut down within the first five minutes of your talk. You need to strip away fluff so that people can easily follow what you’re saying and why it matters to them.

To streamline your thought process, consider the power of the bumper sticker. When you’re stuck in traffic, these pithy messages convey a clear point in a clever fashion.

When preparing your next presentation, imagine you’re writing bumper stickers. At Managing People at Work, we’re always reminding you to think in threes. So think of a trio of catchy bumper stickers you want your audience to remember.

We heard from a reader who used this technique to persuade her employees to accept unpaid furloughs and make other temporary sacrifices to help the firm survive slumping sales. She offered three slogans as rallying cries during her 15-minute speech to her team: “Control your destiny,” “Short-term pain = long-term gain” and “Let’s win this one for The Skipper.” (The firm’s much-liked CEO is fondly nicknamed The Skipper.)

Sure, some employees may think your bumper stickers sound corny. But your goal is to plant simple ideas in their heads in a memorable way, not regale them with your rapier wit. You’ll also be less apt to ramble if you stay focused on your three main points.

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