How to Make Your Message Stick With Your Audience – Anytime, Anywhere!

The Size of Your Speech Does Not Matter

If you ever have to give a presentation, whether it is for 60 seconds or 60 minutes, you need to make your message stick. What use is a message that gets thrown back into the ether once your audience goes home and can not remember or recall what you said to them a week, or even a month after you spoke to them. You want to not only impact your audience while you are speaking to them, but also long afterwards.

Create a Phrase or Slogan

So how do you do this? You do this by creating a phrase or slogan that basically sums up your entire message and which lingers in the ears of your audience members – even long after you leave the speaking platform. This is the first part of the World Class Speaking PARTS formula that we use to coach speakers when they are creating their message. The phrase must be 10 words or less. The reason for this is because anything longer that 10 words will be difficult for people to remember. In addition, If the phrase, as you will soon see, has a bit of a rhyme, it will add to its ability to be remembered.

Okay, so now perhaps you might be thinking, “How on earth can I sum up an entire speech in one phrase?” I will be honest with you, coming up with the right phrase will not be easy, in fact, it will take some effort, but when you do, you will be well rewarded. When you anchor your message to your audience, you will be rewarded handsomely by not only being remembered by your audience, but by the people that brought you in to speak – and you will be called back time and time again.

How I Created My Slogan

It was just recently that I came up with my latest phrase. It was 7:00am last week Thursday March 18 2010. I had attended my weekly BNI meeting in Westfield New Jersey, where I give my usual educational networking tip of the day. BNI is an international referral organization where business owners get together to network, develop relationships and give referrals to each other.

Aside from my position in the chapter as the educational coordinator, my specialty there is also as a public speaking coach, keynote speaker, and presentations skills trainer. The education that I gave that morning was about the need to meet with the people in our BNI chapter – not just in the chapter at the weekly meetings, but also outside of the weekly meeting in order to develop the relationship, so that an atmosphere of trust and likability is developed.

I started the education that morning by talking about a study that the founder of BNI Dr. Ivan Misner and BNI had conducted over a 6 month period where they had polled close to 2,350 business owners, sales people and professionals from both retail and service industries. The poll included people from countries across the world. People from the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and the United kingdom had participated in this poll.

What Dr. Misner and his group at BNI had found, was that more that 80 percent of the respondents preferred receiving more business through networking groups or an introduction of some sort. So in other words, they wanted to receive referrals. In BNI they have a term for setting up times to meet with other members of the chapter to get to know one another and develop friendships that leads to the giving and receiving of referrals. They call this form of getting together, a “Dance Card.”

So as I was doing my educational that morning, and after telling my fellow BNI members about the conclusion of Dr. Misner’s study, “that most business owners would rather receive their business through word of mouth and referrals,” I turned to my group of 38 members and said, “I have been here for close to 8 months, and guess how many dance cards I have had? Five. That’s it!” And upon hearing that, many people in my chapter wanted to stone me! This was obviously not a good thing! I was not setting a very good example of developing relationships.

However, I purposely put my ego on the line for the sake of making a point. In my public speaking skills workshops, I talk about how, when you self deprecate, you enhance your connection with your audience. So in order to bring the point home to my fellow BNI members that morning, I had to make an example out of myself, so I could connect with my audience and drive my point home to them.

So, after members of my chapter were done having their laugh at my expense, I then paused and made my point. I said, “…and guess from whom I was receiving all my referrals? That’s right. The ones whom I had been doing the dance cards with” and then I said, “If you want to advance in the referrals that you receive. If you want to advance in your business – you gotta dance.”

“If You Want to Advance, You Gotta Dance” – my slogan was created.

Claudia, the area director of our BNI chapter just happened to been sitting in on the meeting that morning, and she walked up to me after the meeting and said, “Lewis, wow! I really like that slogan, “If you want to advance you gotta dance” – That was a great slogan you had created.” I thanked her and left the meeting to start my day.

Testing Your Slogan for The “Stick Factor”

One week later, The following Thursday morning, I was again sitting at my BNI meeting where I did my educational tip of the day. We then had our usual 90 minute meeting where each member of the chapter does their 60 second commercial on their business, followed by two presentations from our members, which is then followed by a referral go-around where everyone in the chapter starts handing out referrals to one another.

So when it came my turn, I decided to do something interesting. I handed out some referrals and then decided to test the waters and see if my phrase that I had created the week prior, did indeed get anchored with the audience. I turned to my audience and said, “I am free after this morning’s meeting, So If anyone has time to kill I would be happy to meet up with you – because if you remember what I said last week, “If you want to advance…” I paused, and let the audience do the rest. Amazingly they said “You Gotta Dance!” My phrase had worked! It stuck with them. It passed the Stick Test!

Final Thoughts

Creating phrases and slogans are not easy, but if you really take the time to think about your speech, you will eventually come up with the proper phrase or slogan for your message. You will not only have a great message but you will have created a phrase that is like glue that will connect your message with your audience even long after you leave the speaking platform. Because when they remember your phrase, they will remember your message.

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Lewis Roth helps speakers build a presentation that is memorable and keeps their audience members on the edge of their seats. Lewis is an award winning speaker, certified world class speech coach, keynote speaker and presentation skills trainer. To receive his High-Touch Speaking tool kit, please visit

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