Messaging Tips from DC

So far 2014 has been a whirlwind! In January I started my first RD job, Eric and I decided to move up our wedding, we are in the process of buying a house, and out of the past 2 weeks, I have spent 6 days in different professional trainings.  Yikes!  Even though there will always be an excuse to be busy, with the warm weather, everything else seems to be calming down as well.  So I will take this opportunity to pass along some of the great lessons that I have learned along the way.

ImageOn March 30th, I attended the Public Policy Workshop (PPW) in Washington, DC.  This is a 3 day conference where RDs and DTRs gather to discuss pertinent legislation that affects our practice.  The first 2 days were spent in seminars, leading up to the 3rd day where we went to Capital Hill to meet with our state representatives.  Kinda of a big deal 🙂 In full disclosure, I was awarded a stipend from the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group (WMDPG) to cover the cost of registration as well as other costs associated with attending (hotel, transportation, food)

In addition to learning about 3 specific pieces of legislation, we had multiple speakers discuss how to develop messages.  This is clearly very important when meeting with government representatives, but many of the lessons can translate to to blogging, public speaking and formal writing you may encounter in your job.  Here are some of the highlights, coming from a presentation by Joy Bauer, the Registered Dietitian for The Today Show.

Crafting Your Message

  • Start off strong.  No matter your audience, you want to engage them right away.  Powerful statistics or emotional stories are both good methods of grabbing someones attention.  Humor can also be a great tactic, when appropriate.
  • Less is more.  Think about what key messages you want your audience to walk away with and focus on them.  By being concise, your audience has a better chance of actually remembering the important points.  Weed out any fluff that doesn’t directly support your goals.
  • A picture is worth 1000 words.  The use of photos, videos, and demos has been shown to improve retention rates.  They can also help demonstrate your point.  For example, compare the following:

The average American consumes 6 cups of added sugar a week.

OR

Weekly SugarSee a difference?

  • Stress the Bottom Line.  Whether its an action plan or general take-aways, end strong and reiterate your main points.  When someone asks an audience member/reader what you were all about, make sure they have an answer!

Incorporate these ideas to strengthen your presence.  More tips to come!

What do you do to make your message clear and effective?

 

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