It makes sense. Start from your key point. But sometimes you can spend more time than you want to working out what that key point is. Olivia Mitchell offers a three-step process for “crafting your key message.”
A key message is the number one thing you want your audience to remember or do as a result of your presentation. Some experts call it “the big idea”, the core of your presentation or the proposition.
Start planning your presentation by deciding on your key message. It will make the rest of your planning easy and straightforward. Steve Bent, one of my readers, said in a comment on a previous post:
“…[T]hat’s when I had the Eureka moment of the key message for that particular presentation. Then all previous thoughts, notes and parts of the presentation were easy to classify in terms of how relevant they were, and which step they fell into (if any).”
If you’re preparing a presentation on a topic you know well, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to decide on your key message quickly. I’ve trained hundreds of people and there’s not one that’s been unable to come up with a key message within 5-10 minutes!
But in Steve’s words you may have “message commitment issues”. You may be thinking that once you’ve got a key message, you can’t change it as you carry on with your planning. Rubbish! Think of it as an engagement, not a marriage. You can always change your message if you find that it’s not quite working for you.
Or maybe you’re expecting the perfect, clever and catchy key message to come to you fully-formed. If that does happen to you – you’re lucky. But more often a memorable key message is a result of crafting.