How to Say It Quickly and Still Make Your Point

With the fast-paced agenda in most business meetings today, and the attention-reducing influence of text messaging and the Internet, being able to get your ideas or recommendations across quickly is a skill set that will set you apart. When you can say the right words at the right moment – you’re on your way to success.

In considering how much – and which parts – of your knowledge or experience to share, a simple but powerful adage is this: Less is more. When in doubt, leave it out.

To appear organized and in control, a good rule of thumb is to whittle down your ideas and content to a maximum of three main ideas, if your finished message will be 10 minutes or more. If you’re only given five to seven minutes, be able to state your case summarized in two main points.

With less than five minutes, focus on conveying your idea, description or recommendation as one riveting idea.

“Awwk,” you my be thinking! “But everything is important!”

What helps you separate the significant from the nice-but-not-really-necessary? Think about the type of benefits each of your points brings to the person you are addressing or to the group. Are you going to save them time? Money? Mistakes? Are you going to help them look good? Enjoy peace of mind? Be less stressed? Beat a deadline?

If you cannot directly attach a benefit to a sentence – especially the shorter your time to speak – you’re probably better off choosing a different fact or comment to include.

No matter how important or relevant your content may be, if you deliver it in a boring, unenthusiastic or rambling manner, you will lose control and interest. Imagine you’ve lit a match under yourself to ignite your enthusiasm whenever it’s your turn to speak. This tactic is especially critical if you, yourself are not in the best of moods. It happens!

Confidence to edit on your feet and to project yourself as an expert comes when you practice aloud, often. This executive rehearsal enables you to be so thoroughly familiar with your material that it rolls off your tongue in a totally “natural” manner. Additionally, plan ways you can involve your audience by asking questions (“How many of you have…?) or inviting them to say something motivational aloud in unison (“We can be number one!).

Above all, remember that you’re the expert – or at least they think you are! You will be heard and can increase your odds of getting the results you want – as long as you’re brief, on point, and engaging.


Anne B. Freedman is founder and president of Speak Out, Inc., in Miami, FL. She is an internationally-recognized executive speaking and networking coach, keynote speaker, and author of several books including “Unforgettable Speeches and Sales Presentations in 8 Easy Steps,” “Own the Room: Connect, Persuade & Succeed,” and a collection of how-to e-books. Her company creates messages and provides presentation coaching for senior level executives and entrepreneurs. Additionally, customized trainin...

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