The phone rang last night around 9 o'clock. It was our daughter calling from Florida. My wife was excited to talk to her and had plenty to say. She didn't get too far though. Midway through a sentence, our daughter said, "Mom, you're rambling. What's the point?" After the call, my wife spent the rest of the evening nursing bruised feelings. Made me think of an executive I listened to this week that started his presentation by saying it would be impossible for him to distill his message into a 30 second sound bite. Too bad there wasn't a teenager in the audience to tell him to tighten up his talk. I'm sure it was fabulous technology, but after awhile it got stale.
Many executives mistakenly believe that having a quick sound bite describing their company is watering/dumbing down the message. We know you're a genius and can talk endlessly and brilliantly about your paradigm shifting, "no one has a product quite like ours" approach. But you have to earn the audience's attention. Reporters and sales prospects are subjected to countless pitches and presentations. Stand out from the crowd by hitting them with an effective opening and then win them over with a crisp, two-way conversation that focuses on their needs and how you can be helpful. Short, high level summaries are essential to good presentations. Better to leave people wanting to hear more, rather than moaning what's the point?