In any discussion about communications these days, the phrase “key messages” is almost certain to crop up. Very often, though, it is used vaguely, without any real thought about what an effective key message is.
Key messages are vital for anyone either putting together a presentation or preparing for a media interview. Without them, you may be going into an interview or presentation with very little focus, and the result may be at best a fuzzy performance, at worst a valuable opportunity squandered. So what are they? How do you determine what your key messages should be?
Simply ask yourself a few straightforward questions. What do I want to say about me or my organisation? Why do the media want to talk to me today? And what are my views on the issue or issues they want to discuss?
Key messages on their own, however, will not be sufficient. They need strength, they need substance. So your key messages require proof points such as the latest statistics or recent surveys. They will also benefit from examples, in order to put flesh and blood on what may be a fairly dry generalisation.
Every audience and every interviewer will expect to hear key messages from you. They may not agree with them or consider them significant, but equally they will not be surprised to hear you emphasise them. This may be your best chance to deliver those thoughts, opinions or facts that you believe to be of key importance.