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Lesson 2. Define the Central Message > Present a Single Central Message - Pg. 8

Define the Central Message 8 As a speaker you're supposed to present your vision--your central message: how you see the facts, what they mean, your opinion about them, and your position on what action should be taken on them. To present your vision, or the central message of your presentation, is to lead your listeners to take the action or follow in the direction you propose. Construct a One-Sentence Central Message Developing your central message is critically important. Too many speakers simply gather infor- mation, quickly create some visual aids, then stand up and deliver their presentation. They never ask themselves: How does all this information fit together? What does it all mean? What do I want my listeners to get out of it? Tip For each minute that you intend to speak, spend 5 to 10 minutes planning and preparing your presentation. If you're asked to make an impromptu presentation about developments in your work unit to a group of visiting customers, you won't have much time to prepare. When you do have advance notice, however, and you're free to select the subject yourself, deciding what to talk about should be your first step. For example, you may be slated months in advance to speak at the local Rotary Club about an important issue that is currently confronting your organization. Start thinking about your central message. What point are you going to make? If the listeners are only going to remember 5 percent of your presentation, what do you want to make sure they remember? When you have very little time to prepare a presentation, this type of planning is even more impor- tant. The central message becomes an organizing principle that allows you to quickly select infor-