It's four weeks before the midterm elections and you're probably getting bombarded with phone calls, flyers and commercials about various candidates. Each of these communications carries a message.
The most successful of those messages are short, highly-focused and deliver a clear, relevant punch. Long after the election though, you can use the same message techniques in meetings, presentations and interviews to hone what bosses, clients and colleagues should know about you.
Here are the five key components of an effective message:
1. Short and focused. Messages are brief, usually fewer than ten words. Think "no new taxes." They're also most effective when they focus on the listener. For example, a financial planner's might say, "I help you plan a secure retirement." Or a lawyer may describe herself as offering "the expert legal advice you need on intellectual property issues."
2. Easy to understand. Challenge yourself to create a message that contains short, simple words. If you say in interviews that your ideal next job "would allow you to transfigure your theoretical foundation," you'll confuse someone for sure. Make your message easy for the listener to repeat to someone else.
3. Supported with relevant information. Ensure you can backup your message with a story, statistic or analogy. If a client wants to know more about your accurate reporting capabilities, you'll want a few examples of work you've done. Practice and hone these ahead of time, so they're immediately accessible for you.
4. Repeated three times. Say your message three times during the meeting or interview. The listener may not take it in the first or second time they hear it. By the third time, they get it.
5. Updated often. Not only will you deliver different messages in different situations, you'll want to refresh those messages. The message at the final presentation of a project is different from the one when you're pitching that project. You're now looking for additional assignments. A new message about your proven ability to deliver quality on-time work is now appropriate.
While you'll hear lots of negative messages before Election Day, we encourage you to keep your message positive. You'll win more supporters kissing babies than slinging mud. Lastly, don't forget to vote on November 2 - for the candidate whose message you believe.
What's your message to the world?