Making Your Messages Memorable
Think of the Message Box as a framework. It allows you to focus on what’s most important and what will resonate with your audience. But once you’ve got a clear message, you’ll want to add flesh to those bones. How do you take the essential ideas and make them memorable and compelling to your audience?
Consider anecdotes, examples, metaphors, sound-bites, and facts that would resonate with your audience and can supplement and reinforce your messages. This is where some of the detail and data you took out of your Message Box can come back into play. As you prepare for your paper, presentation, meeting, or interview, here are some points to keep in mind to communicate effectively.
Listen To Your Audience
Effective communication requires listening and truly engaging with your audience in a two-way conversation.
What questions did they ask? Which of your points really seemed to trigger a response?
Incorporate that feedback to make your messages clear, compelling, and relevant.
Support your message with data—but not too much!
Limit the use of numbers and statistics
Compare concepts with things people can relate to
Use accessible language
Lead with what you know
Use specific examples
A great way to get feedback on your Message Box is to form an on-site study group with other scientists. Groups of three to five people work well. Give each person 2-3 minutes to present their Message Box, and then have the group give concrete, constructive feedback for five minutes or so. If you’re in the same field as others in your group, try to listen as if you were unfamiliar with the topics at hand, and provide feedback with that lens in mind. After receiving feedback, you can revise your Message Box to make your messages even clearer and more compelling.