Simplify and Repeat

Sections of this topic

    We’ve all struggled with the question: how do I get my message across? While there are many strategies, as is the case in life, simplicity is often best. In this guest article, PR pro Jerry Brown explains how to…

    Simplify and Repeat

    “Remember the . . .”

    “Damn the torpedoes, full . . .”

    “Ask not . . .”

    “I have a . . . ”

    Chances are pretty good you can complete all of the phrases listed above — even if you don’t remember who said all of them or precisely why.

    Good messaging is easy to understand. It resonates with your audience. And it’s easy to remember. Your message is like the punch line of a joke. If you have to explain it, it doesn’t work.

    Hearing a joke once is usually enough. It loses its punch after that. Your message is just the opposite. The more you repeat it — and the more the rest of us hear it — the more powerful it becomes.

    The moral of the story? Make your message simple. Speak to the needs, fears or desires of your audience. And repeat it as often as you can. Once you’re so tired of saying it that you can’t stand listening to yourself the rest of us are beginning to hear what you’re saying.

    Two books I strongly recommend if you want to add power to your message are Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s what People Hear by Dr. Frank Luntz and Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

    That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    Jerry Brown is a seasoned PR professional and former journalist. He currently heads the firm pr-IMPACT and can be reached at