A Framework for Making Your Point Heard

Honing your message is essential

Coworkers talking about a project together.
Coworkers talking about a project together.

It may seem like a no-brainer that you must have a point before you try to make one, but you’d be surprised by how many people talk and talk without first thinking through what they’re trying to communicate.

To have impact, you want to propose something of value, says Joel Schwartzberg, a strategic communications trainer, author, and professional speechwriter. “People won’t remember the specific words you’ll say, but they will remember what you meant… if you have a point,” Schwartzberg says.

Here’s Schwartzberg’s framework for finding your point and making it land with your audience.

Figure out what you want to say

Remember, a point is an argument, not simply a theme or a topic. Ask yourself, “If my audience can take away only one idea from my communication, what would I want it to be?”

To make sure your idea is indeed a point, run it through the “I believe that ________” litmus test

Put what you think is your point into the blank. If it makes a complete sentence, you have a point. If it doesn’t, or if you can’t come up with a statement, rethink what you’re trying to say.

Lay out the big-picture “so what”

Instead of saying, “If we properly prepare for the meeting, we will impress the client and be able to better express our ideas, and things will run more efficiently,” say, “If we properly prepare for this meeting, we will win the business.” Boom!

Avoid “badjectives”

That is, adjectives so broad that they convey no value. Instead of saying something is “great,” say what makes it great. This is the “why,” and you need to articulate it in a way that has impact.

Get in and get out

Once you’ve made your point, zip it. People remember the last thing you said, so going on and on at the end will only dilute and distract from your point.

author of The Little Book of Life Skills (September 2020), contributing editor at Parents and longtime magazine editor and writer. @erinzruddy on Instagram.

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