We have all been guilty of giving a presentation that confuses our audience with too much information. You want to show that you know your stuff, but if you cram in too many facts and figures you ultimately just end up losing your listeners. There’s plenty of psychological research which supports the idea that the brain finds it easier to grasp three facts at a time.
So the chances of your audience remembering more than 3 points are pretty slim. But if those three key points are hidden in the middle of a lengthy presentation or interview, the audience are still likely to miss the point; you then run the risk of miscommunication and lose an opportunity to tell your story. One thing we teach in our media training courses is that a reporter needs to be fed the relevant facts in an interesting a way as possible; the trick to achieve this is to keep it short and sweet. However cutting corners and leaving out relevant information isn’t in your best interest either. A good approach is to understand your audience and communicate in a way that will resonate with them.
Nursery rhymes and children’s stories often feature a group of three characters in order to deliver moral messages in a memorable way. For example the three little pigs, Goldilocks with the three bears and the three little kittens who lost three sets of mittens. However, it is adults as well as children that find three a more manageable number to work with. This strategy has been used throughout history in ground breaking speeches and lots of politicians use the power of three as a way to grab headlines as well as their audience’s attention. For example; Tony Blair famously used the rule combined with repetition to produce a powerful message in his 2007 campaign “education, education, education” and in his last speech to the House of Commons Churchill said “never flinch, never weary, never despair”.
Even when making presentations the rule of three can be reiterated by limiting yourself to three bullet points on a PowerPoint slide. This not only makes the slide less cluttered and easier to read, but is more likely to remain in the mind of your audience. By having just three key points on a screen at once the chances of them being remembered are far increased.
The most memorable presentations are presented in a clear, concise and well informed manner. So don’t forget; if you want to make an impact, be remembered and change the world, three is the magic number.
www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – June 2011
It seems that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are currently making a mark for themselves as an important research and verification tool for Journalists. Cost free and easy to access perhaps, but with the recent super injunction revelations they should be rather careful what they take for truth and common knowledge.
According to www.orielladigitaljournalism.com more than a third of journalists polled used Facebook as a source, with others highlighting blogs as areas of interest. However when validating stories, journalists questioned still favoured alternative sources, with 61% turning to PR agencies. There is no denying that online media is becoming more and more successful, Giles Fraser, co-head of Oriella PR Network says “This year’s study demonstrates the fast growing acceptance of social media in the newsrooms, both in the collation and telling of stories”.
This is reflected in the stories that we read daily in the press. One such celebrity that has kindly provided journalists with an easy story is Wayne Rooney. Rooney hit headlines recently after rashly using Twitter as a forum for a slanging match. He was involved in a very public argument with a follower on Twitter, and after being provoked went as far as writing “I’ll put u asleep within 10 seconds”. Wayne was soon to dismiss the tweet as a joke “Haha bit of banter” but hit the headlines with his apparent aggressive temper yet again – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13449957.stm
Several stars have fallen foul and forgotten that Twitter isn’t the most private of places to have an argument or express opinions that should probably be kept to oneself. As an online forum used for personal expression, perhaps it is easy to forget that a tweet can be read by millions, and will be around the globe in seconds. For example 50 Cent decided to comment about the disasters in Japan through his Twitter account. Amongst a number of other tweets he wrote “It’s all good, ’til b*****s see their Christian Louboutins floating down da street”. 50 Cent apologised but not before news agencies had started circulating his comments. Once ranted, it can’t be taken back from the eagle eyed journo that is looking to snap up a story. The celeb has pretty much given away a juicy story all for free and probably should invest in further media or presentation training to deal with the fallout.
Meanwhile the Sunday times has launched a social version of its rich list. The new list will log consumers’ social activity on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare then rank them according to how much social activity they generate. Although celebrities are thought to top the list, Sunday Times readers are invited to register for the list as well. Online editor Gordon Thomson said that although the rich list “can only be accessed by the monied few, this can be enjoyed by everyone”. Those signed up will get their ranking on their social network page weekly. So get tweeting, but those in the spotlight may want to watch what they are saying as you don’t know who’s looking for a new headline… view the list here: www.the-social-list.com
Written by Admin- www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – June 2011