Superior Presentations 71: How many times should you repeat...

 Repeat your key message

If you want your audience to remember your key message, you’ll need to say it at least three times during your presentation.

Your key message is likely summed up in about three to ten words. Average speaking speed is between 110 and 150 words per minute. That means in a five minute presentation about 500 to 700 words were spoken but only ten were critical. Your key message could be lost in that sea of words.

If you only stated your key message once and all your words were equally weighed, there would be at best a 2 percent chance of anyone remembering your key message.

Yes, there are other techniques to emphasize your key message which you should also use. Repeating your key words is the simplest way.

By repeating your key message at least once, you’ve doubled the emphasis and increased the memorability. State your key message three to five times and people will tend to hear it and remember it.

Most of us need to hear a phrase, message or name several times before we remember it. Perhaps you’ve met someone at a meeting and then forgotten their name before the end of the meeting. When you want to commit important information to memory you should probably repeat it several times.

Marketers know this principle. That’s why a 30-second radio or TV ad will mention the product or company name a few times. That’s also why one promotion never seems enough.

You probably remember the key phrase from the famous speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. – I have a dream. It would be difficult to forget because he stated it 11 times during that speech.

Here are three ways for you to use this technique:

Repeat your key message like a refrain, as in “I have a dream”.

Capture the key message within a rhetorical question and then answer using the key words, e.g. why is it important to exercise? It’s important to exercise because…

Use slight variations in the wording so the phrase doesn’t appear overdone. e.g. In this tip,  message, words and phrase have been interchanged.

If there’s one thing for you to remember from this tip, it is: “repeat your key message”.

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