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Joel Schwartzberg is the senior director of strategic and executive communications for a major American nonprofit, a professional speech coach since 2006, and the author of “Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter“. A former national champion public speaker, Joel has also written for Fast Company, Toastmaster Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine.
Get to the point!
The most fundamental part of a successful communication is the point. If you don’t have one, you become pointless, you’re virtually useless.
A point is an argument, a proposal of value. It has to be very clear, very specific.
- “Podcasting” is not a point.
- “The importance of podcasting” is not a point.
- “Podcasting is the best way to reach middle-level managers” is a point.
How do you know if you have a point?
Do the “I believe that” test: Take what you think your point is and add “I believe that” in front of it. If you have a complete sentence, you have a point.
How to communicate your point effectively
- First, take the “I believe that test” to your talk.
- Look for “Badjectives.” Replace “great,” “amazing,” “awesome” for concrete, real words.
- Look for “Split ends.” People digest only one idea at a time. Choose which one is the most relevant for that audience.
People who speak to the point
There has been good point makers in the recent college commencement speeches.
Rex Tillerson at the Virginia Military Institute. His point was: A good leader preserves his integrity by surrounding himself with those who exemplify integrity.
Sen. Jeff Flake at Harvard Law School. His point was: Resisting following the herd blindly will result in more fulfillment and success.
You can find more examples from this commencement speeches’ season in Joel’s blog article.
Taylor Swift also made a great point back in 2016 when she received the Grammy for “Album of the Year.” Her point was: It’s important being resilient and overcoming criticism.
Related: Five Tools for Becoming a Compelling Communicator
“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” — Robert Kennedy
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Routine to Shine
You’re making a point all the time. Use the “I believe that” test, write it down and make a point. Whenever you have a meeting, take some time in advance and make your points.
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