I attended the TEDx UofM event last Friday and listened to fourteen different speakers. I was given a small booklet to write notes in. With fourteen speakers, each talking for thirteen minutes and a tiny book to record their thoughts, I figured the best thing to do was to distill each talk down to its one, single most important point.
Easier said than done.
Some speakers tried to cram many points into their short window of opportunity. Some speakers didn't really have a point at all. Some speakers nailed it perfectly. Those were the ones I enjoyed and remembered the most.
If you are ever blessed to do a TEDx or even a TED talk, do me a favor. Pick one and only one point, Then make that point as powerfully as you can.
In fact, making one point should be your mantra that will help you in many aspects of your business life.
Designing a website?
Make sure each page has one and only one clear message/action. Your click rates and conversion rates will skyrocket when you give each page a clear and singular purpose.
Designing a new advertisement?
Make it about one thing and one thing only. Drop the unnecessary fluff like your address or phone number. If you make a strong enough point, they'll find you.
If you're going to mention your services, pick one service and make the ad all about that service. If you're going to make it about a product, pick one product and drop all that other nonsense about other products and services.
At the end of your commercial, the handful of people who lightly paid attention can only remember one thing from it at the most, so make sure the one thing they remember is the one important thing you want them to remember.
Sending out an Email?
Make it about one thing. If you have two unrelated points, send two emails. First, it allows the receiver to reply to each point separately and avoids any confusion to which point they are replying. Second, it allows them to store the email for future reference in the appropriate folders based on their storage system.
Applying for a Job?
There is one skill or trait that sets you above the rest of the applicants. Highlight that trait. Make it the single most important point of all your communication. If you win that trait, you've won more than half the battle.
The more points you try to make, the more you weaken the original message.
There is a classic story of a copywriter of a big company called into a meeting with the advertising committee to go over the new campaign. The chair of the committee explained they had narrowed down the campaign to twelve points they needed the copywriter to make. After explaining all the points in detail, the committee chair realized the copywriter hadn't been taking notes. When he asked the copywriter about this, the copywriter reached into his bag and pulled out board with twelve nails pointing straight up. Next he took out a frying pan and to everyone's surprise, slammed it down on the bed of nails. He held it up so that everyone could see the tiny indentations in the bottom of the pan. Then he took out another board with one solitary spike on it. He slammed the pan down right over the spike. The spike easily pierced the pan, sticking the pan flush to the board. He looked up at the chair and said...
"Now, how many points did you want me to make?"
Make only one point and make it well. You are more likely to get your point across. It works in so many ways.
PS This works with your staff, too. Work on one issue at a time. It works with your vendors, your customers, even your children and spouse. Make one point and only one point. Once you get that point across, then you can move onto another point.