by Maria Lahiffe
You are passionate about what you do, your organization serves an important need, and you really want everyone to know about your passion and purpose. Take some time to think about your key messages.
Key messages are the main points of communication you want your audience to remember about your cause. They are bite-sized nuggets which summarize what you do, why you do it, how you are different, and why your cause is worthwhile.
People are constantly bombarded by information, more than they can possibly take in. It is important to give careful thought to what you want people to remember about you and your organization, because otherwise they may come away remembering the sweater you were wearing while you were talking.
Effective key messaging is short and easy to understand. This means communicating concisely and free of technical language or common speech. Make it as short as possible, and use plain language.
Structure what you say around your audience. Demonstrate how your subject impacts them in specific and concrete terms. Remember that key messages are aimed at the general public. Talking to the public is different from talking to experts, who have the necessary background and who already care about what you are saying.
Stay away from cliché. A good way to do this is to insert something of yourself into what you are saying. Everyone is unique, so putting yourself into the message will make your message unique too.
Make sure there is a strong correspondence between your title and your key message. If you think of your communication as an essay, your title is the subject at hand, while your key message is the thesis. As with an essay, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself in order to ensure maximum comprehension.
Key messages are a central component of a communications plan. Want to learn more? Come to a workshop! We have one devoted to working with the media, and another about creating a communications plan.
Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to organizational operations. Click here for more information, and to register. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.
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