The Fourth of Our Top Five - The Art of the Sound Bite...

We’re fast approaching the last of our top five tips on how to look like a pro on camera. Last week we covered body language. Have you talked with your hands since? Here’s the link if you want to practice. This week we’re covering the art of the sound bite. It’s another of the “go to” tips we use to coach our on-camera subject matter experts.

Thanks to Hamlet we all know that, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” It also happens to be the key to the kingdom when it comes to effectively getting your crucial messages across in a video.

With that in mind, here’s a mantra you need to turn to, and return to, each time you are asked to speak. Be mindful of whether you are “clear, concise and cogent.” Note, this approach is also highly effective in negotiations of all types — one tip, oh so many beneficial uses.

Paint a picture with your sound bites. If your audience can see it, they’ll remember it. Use analogies to paint pictures. If you’re approaching the end of a project, thank your employees, and tell them you’re “Nearing the finish line.”

Steve Jobs was known as a master of analogies. Lest we forget, "desktop" is an analogy. Jobs used it to calm new user discomfort with the virtual world. He associated the new graphical user interface paradigm with something tangible, mundane, and simple, such as, the top of a desk.

When our team works with on camera subject matter experts we counsel them on forming sound bites that condense their key messages. We interview them well in advance of putting them in front of our cameras. We draw out the details and messages that need to be heard loud and clear. We then help them distill these messages into sound bites that paint a picture and yet still sound like “them.”

Once again, I challenge you to look for good public speakers and deconstruct what they do that makes them effective communicators. You’ll start to hone in on their sound bites. Learn from those that are effortlessly clear, concise and cogent.

Stop by next week for the final one of our top five tips. In the mean time, remember the mantra ... be the mantra ... “Clear, concise and cogent.” And, if you have any specific issues that you’d like me to address all you have to do is ask (in 15 words or less). Talk to you next Friday.