5 Ways to Use Soundbites Skillfully

You Have Nine Seconds to Tell the World Your Message. Are You Prepared? Follow these five tips for developing the right soundbites.

Words are the ambassadors of our intentions. Whenever anyone calls to hire me as a media coach I listen closely to the way they express themselves with words. More importantly, I listen to perceive who they are as a person. Once you open your mouth to speak to anyone anywhere, you are auditioning. You are vying for their attention, for their time, for their commitment to you and whatever you have to promote.

1. Choose the right words.

Soundbites are the lightning flashes of who you are and the message you want to get across. To say what you mean and mean what you say, develop your soundbites word for word. The process of developing your soundbites is about peeling away the unnecessary to arrive at the essential. But before you peel....

2. Create six dynamic soundbites.

In order to speak your way to the hearts and minds of people, you should have about six soundbites or talking points. Soundbites are the essential things you want to convey. They are memory nuggets, or blurbable ideas designed to be easy for your audience to digest. You can incorporate these six juicy jewels in any conversation. They can consist of anecdotes, facts, statistics, stories, or something unlikely, unusual, controversial, shocking, funny, humorous, romantic, poignant, emotionally moving, or dramatic.

These six things will make your audience get their rear in gear to dash out to buy your product or service, choose you for a project or spokesperson, or pick up the phone right now to order whatever you are selling. More than that, they promise and deliver something worthwhile.

3. Acknowledge six of the most important things in stories and in life: beauty, poetry, music, timing, truth and nuance.

As a media coach I'm immersed in the squeezing down of concepts into a few pithy phrases that catch attention. Recently, I was talking to a client whose stories were already sifted into simplicity. That day I read a quote on the internet that said, *Simplify things to their simplest form, but no simpler.* She had. But the result was more like pulp than ripe fruit. I asked for the expanded version so I could taste their full flavor and help her decide how they should be juiced down.

I try to view these soundbites as a new form of language- haiku versus open verse, a Zen fountain versus a mountain stream, flowers in a windowsill box versus a field of poppies ready to take you to a land deep in the opiated imagination. It is important to savor the lushness of nuance and the musical flow of language while shaving off unimportant details.

4. Make potent points.

Keeping to your most potent points makes an interview move forward more smoothly. Jane Swigart Ph.D, wrote her book, *The Myth of the Perfect Mother* to help mothers parent without guilt. To convey the difficulty and complexity of motherhood, she came up with some key phrases like, *Being a mother is like asking half the population to do brain surgery without sending them to medical school.* And, *There is a myth that women are divinely prepared for caregiving.* Both phrases are short, to the point and can be spoken in less than 10 seconds.

5. Find your own voice.

Your voice is as personal as your thumbprint. You may not recognize it as such, but your pets, neighbors, loved ones and colleagues do. You use phrases and have mannerisms that are like the billboards that holler over city highways. Ask your friends and family what your billboards are. They'll be able to tell you right away. Ask yourself which of these patterns should be amplified, and which should be toned down. Do you have a signature story that you tell over and over again? These stories are one way we frame our lives. Begin to notice how you talk about your experiences.

Copyright(c) 2004 Susan Harrow. All rights reserved.

Soundbites are all important when a producer or journalist calls. You're often competing with the best and the brightest in your field. Will you make the cut? Find out how you can by clicking here: http://www.prsecretstore.com/tvtalkshowsecrets.html

Susan Harrow is a top media coach, marketing strategist and author of *Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul* (HarperCollins), *The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked on Oprah*, and *How You Can Get a 6-Figure Book Advance.* Her clients include Fortune 500 CEOs, millionaires, best-selling authors and successful entrepreneurs who have appeared on Oprah, 60 Minutes, NPR, and in TIME, USA Today, Parade, People, O, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc.

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