This question is “Do you have any experience of using Ten Word Sentences to answer questions or get ideas across in presentations?’
And the short answer to that is – No, we haven’t ….But….that got us thinking. – And by the way I’m Michael, and I’m Helen, and we are The Presentation Maestro.
And let’s start off by giving you a couple of examples…. This one’s from Jerry Seinfeld – and he said… “The road less travelled, is less travelled for a reason.” and David Attenborough said “Nothing stays the same, and it can’t remain the same.” Now while you’re working out what that means just reflect on this – these sort of sentences are generally pithy, well sculpted and they’re quite memorable –
And where do they come from? – well they’re largely used by *speechwriters* and tabloid journalists who are real masters of their craft. And you’ll find that most tabloid journalists write in sort of three ‘acts’ of about 60 words each so the article’s about 180 words long – and if you’re speaking it if you’re a scriptwriter or a speechwriter, normally it takes about 75 seconds.
But it’s worth reflecting that the people who write this sort of stuff are crafts men and women – it’s their art, it’s their craft, it’s their profession – and they spend years learning it – and a long time writing it too – but for us lesser mortals….it takes even longer to craft. Now we crafted one, a ten word sentence, for this video and it actually took us longer to craft that than it did to plan and record the video for you. And stay tuned we’ll give you the ten words at the end.
But i think what’s really important is actually the principle behind all this, the principle behind good communication. And it really is – have a clear message, crystal clear message, supported by a clear structure, use short sentences and simple words.
And there’s some history behind this I mean Dale Carnegie was talking 100 years ago about the importance of getting across big ideas using short sentences and short words – and even earlier still….
I have a quote that I’m going to read, because I can’t remember it…. it says “In future, write without elaboration use plain, clear words it will be less trouble for you, and your reader” Now I’ll give you one clue who wrote that… it was written in 1528 – but I bet you won’t get it… It was written by Barbur, the first Mughal Emperor of India.
And earlier still Hippocrates -Greek – I think he was Greek, doesn’t sound a Roman name – said the Chief… ‘oh gosh we’ve done this 15 times – actually what is the full quote?’…..
“The chief virtue that language can have is….. Clarity.”
But if you are going to use one of these ten word sentences we recommend, if you’re going to use them, use them at the beginning of a talk, or right at the end of a talk. And before we give you ours at the end Helen’s just going to summarise what we’ve said so far… I am …. I’m going to summarise what we’ve said because it’s actually what we teach and have done….. forever!
So in summary, Have a clear message, backed by a crystal clear structure or a crystal clear message backed by a clear structure – works that way too – use short sentences, and simple words, simple language.
Absolutely – and now here’s our humdinger of a quote to send you away with
“The most important thing you can wear is…. your expression”
See you on the next one