Marketing

Marketing guru Seth Godin on why you should just say one thing at a time

Dominic Powell /

If you want someone to hear, and understand, what you’re saying, the key is to keep it simple.

That’s the advice from prominent author and marketer Seth Godin, who regularly shares nuggets of wisdom through his blog and various public speaking events across the globe.

In a recent blog post, Godin gets straight to the point: “Say one thing at a time,” he says.

Despite acknowledging “you might not get the microphone back for a while”, Godin believes in the world of both business and marketing, it’s better to keep it succinct.

“I know, you want to make sure everyone understands precisely what went into your thinking. Not to mention your desire to make sure that everyone who hears you hears something that they’d like to hear,” Godin says.

“But if you try to say three things, we will hear nothing. Because most of the time, we’re hardly listening.”

Godin believes this advice applies to many different areas, whether it’s when advertising or providing instructions, or working in particular fields, such as industrial design.

“They all work better when they try to say one thing at a time,” he says.

These sentiments are echoed by leadership coach and author Yamini Naidu, who wrote for SmartCompany in 2014 about the risk of over-talking when giving a presentation.

“Sometimes over-talkers start off by being persuasive, but then they undo their good work by becoming boring and repetitive. Sometimes over-talkers cover up a lack of preparation or knowledge by making one point in five different ways. It’s conversational smoke and mirrors,” Naidu wrote.

If you’ve got an important presentation or meeting coming up, here’s Naidu’s three “red flags” to watch out for to avoid overtalking:

• Holding court for more than a couple of minutes without drawing breath, allowing no one else to get a word in;

• Repeating what you’ve already said, while one part of your brain is screaming ‘Stop talking now!’; and

• People who were bright and sparkly when you started are now distracted and listless.

Keeping these tips in mind can stop the rambling and lead to stronger and more engaging presentations.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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