Make your key message stand out - Gangnam Style!

How do you get around a city when you can't speak the language or decipher most of the signs and public notices? With relative ease, if you're visiting Seoul, South Korea. Westerners can confidently navigate the city's ultra-modern subway system because key information is posted in Roman script as well as the elegant hangul lettering Koreans use. On a trip to Seoul recently, it occurred to me that speech givers and presenters could learn something from the city's subway planners about making key message STAND OUT.

People retain only a small percentage of what they hear. The retention rate rises when they both hear and see information, but not by a huge amount. To help the audience remember your key point takes some work. Here are three tactics you can use to highlight your most important message:

1. Come right out and say it. Don't be coy. Synthesize your most important point in a single sentence or phrase that's easy for listeners to digest.
2. Tell people more than once. State your key message early and come back to it throughout the speech or presentation (but, most importantly, at the end). Express the idea in a new way if repeating the same words sounds tired.
3. Make it memorable and repeatable. Give the audience an analogy, connect your message to an image, or frame it in a story. Any of those options will help people remember your point and provide a vehicle for them to share your idea with others.