Thursday, March 09, 2006

COMMUNICATION SKILLS--Size really does matter

Bumper stickers really drive me crazy.

Maybe it's the fact that they draw my attention away from driving...or that people actually think it increases their car's value by turning it into a rolling billboard...or that you can't really read the darn things unless you and the car in front of you come to a complete stop. But yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker that perfectly illustrated one of the most important communication lessons any CEO or corporate spokesperson should learn.

It was on the back bumper of Subaru Legacy I was stuck behind in downtown Sacramento. There were probably 7 or 8 stickers back there with a variety of political or comic philosophies, but one jumped out because it made no sense. Wedged among the other slogans was a 3x8 inch diatribe that must have had a whole paragraph printed on it. Even after staring at it for five or ten minutes while stuck in traffic, I still couldn't tell you what it said. Because the bumper sticker was too small!

The point is--size really does matter. What's the point of presenting a message that no one can see or hear clearly?

If you need to make a statement, make it BIG and BOLD. Use short, simple declarative sentences. Say what you mean and you mean what you say. Cut out anything that isn't important, whether you're giving a TV interview or giving a keynote address. And please, don't let what you say get swallowed up or overwhelmed by a lot of other messages.

Here's the good news: it's easy to be heard above the din with the proper preparation and training. Contact me at if you'd like more information on media training, presentation skills, developing your message, or managing an audience.

The average person is bombarded with over 250,000 audio or visual "impressions" every day. Today's consumer doesn't have the time or energy to sift through the clutter, so it's essential that you make the biggest and boldest impression possible.

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