The Best Way to Make Your Point Stick Is…

Of all the talks you’ve heard or books you’ve read, what percentage have had lasting, tangible impact?

This was the question I asked a group a few weeks ago when I taught a five-day course using principles from Andy Stanley’s wonderful book, Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication.

Keep in mind these were all seminary students who have heard thousands of sermons, talks, lessons, devotionals, and presentations.

No one could remember more than a handful.

Will all you have to say stick with your audience?

Will all you have to say stick with your audience?

I would suggest that in many cases the ability to recall what we’ve heard says more about the speaker than it does about the listeners.

What a depressingly poor return on investment for speakers, some who labor to come up with a new message each week filled with insightful and plentiful advice only to realize that no one remembers it the next day. Or if they do remember it, they don’t know what to do about it, and it certainly has no lasting change effect personally or professionally.

But there’s hope!

Andy Stanley says,

Every time I stand to communicate I want to take one simple truth and lodge it in the heart of the listener. I want them to know that one thing and know what to do with it.1

One thing.

This advice should also be followed by nonfiction authors as they write each chapter: communicate one main point so well that it stays with the reader long past the time they close that chapter.

Consider each chapter to be one connect-the-dots coloring sheet—the kind where a child draws a line to connect 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and so on until the dots form a clear picture.

You may communicate a number of points throughout the chapter—with examples and illustrations that support them, but at the end of your chapter, all of those points should be clearly connected so that your audience sees one clear, actionable picture that is meaningful to them.

If you’re a speaker or author, which is greater? The number of words you have shared or the tangible results you have seen because of those words? For most of us, we’d have to admit our many words have not always brought about the change we were hoping for.

Let’s not blame the listener. Let us communicate differently as leaders, speakers, authors, communicators.

If you want people to remember what you say long past the time you stop speaking or they close your book, spend more time thinking about the one thing you really want to say instead of putting together extensive notes with all you could say.

Make only one point with a clear call to action.

Try it.

Your point will stick and you’ll see greater results in the lives of your listeners.

Question: Do you find yourself saying more than is necessary to drive one clear point? What do you do to make your point stick? Share your comment below.

1 Stanley, Andy (2008-08-19). Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication (p. 12). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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