Greville Commins, previous Entrepreneur in Residence: Seven key questions – to make an impact in business

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Greville Commins

Whenever you want to communicate to someone, in business, time is short because in modern life most people’s attention spans are short. We have a story to tell, to succeed we need to gain their interest as soon as possible in our story flow.

It helps to have a “Wow” factor. This is something that attracts attention of your audience, it will not, on its own, get them to understand or persuade but it should grab them for a few seconds and maybe get them to say “Wow”, “What”, “Seriously”, “How”….but getting their attention is not enough, you need them to understand or to get to “Ah Ha”.

The “Ah Ha” moment occurs when someone gets what you do and what you are offering. You can often see it in their face, body language or voice when the Ah Ha moment happens. It needs to take no time at all for your audience to get to Ah Ha. The soonest this happens the less likely their attention will wander off.

In order to do this well you need to really know your audience, perhaps having differing Wow and Ah Ha components for differing audiences.

Following the Ah Ha! You can then expand further as you will have the interest and attention of your recipient.

Well that is only part, but an important part, of the whole process. I believe there are seven questions you should ask yourself when creating a communication to ensure you get beyond the Ah Ha stage.

  1. WHO – Do you want to speak to (Do know your audience)?
  2. WHAT – Will grab their attention (WOW factor)?
  3. TIME to Ah Ha! – Are you making it as simple as it can be?
  4. WHAT – Do you want to say (Your most important Key Messages)?
  5. HOW – Often do you need to repeat the message to be effective?
  6. WHAT – Do you want them to do afterwards (Call to Action)?
  7. HOW – Will you deliver your message(s) (Which is the best channel)?

A key message is what you want to be retained in the mind of the recipient after you have left or your communication is over. A key message is carefully worded, told within a story flow that is in the right sequence, easily communicated, easily understood and memorable. Key messaging in your business should be one of your passions.

So, when telling a story, making a pitch or any kind of communication, design your story script to just focus on the key points needed to understand your proposition. Craft the words so that they are easy to deliver, easy to understand and will be remembered afterwards. Having a well scripted story will ensure you convey the same message each time, not forget any key points and make the most out of every opportunity. Then just keep testing and improving.

The rewards of having a story flow are;

  • You bring the listener along with your story, if it’s easy to follow
  • The listener reacts positively to you, as it comes across as very well communicated.
  • They retain positive memory of you, we all like to remember people and stories that are easy to understand
  • Improved chance of your recipient accepting your recommendations

Once you have a succinct script then concentrate on delivery. The best design communication is wasted unless it is delivered properly. A bit like a great joke told badly. It’s not funny.

Then you need to work on your delivery so that you can deliver your script in a way which maximises the chance of being understood.

Before you go make sure you have thought about a Call to Action. What do you want people to do after hearing the story? Have you made it clear what they should do? Is your story strong enough to get this action?

So, spend enough time to understand your audience and what will make them pay attention and cause them to do something following the story, craft your story script with this in mind then spend time perfecting the delivery.

This will increase your success rates with potential customers.


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