5 Ways to Use Soundbites Skillfully
You Have Nine Seconds to Tell the World Your Message. Are
You Prepared? Follow these five tips for developing the right soundbites.
Words are the ambassadors of our intentions. Whenever anyone
calls to hire me as a media coach I listen closely to the
way they express themselves with words. More importantly, I
listen to perceive who they are as a person. Once you open
your mouth to speak to anyone anywhere, you are auditioning.
You are vying for their attention, for their time, for their
commitment to you and whatever you have to promote.
1. Choose the right words.
Soundbites are the lightning flashes of who you are and the
message you want to get across. To say what you mean and
mean what you say, develop your soundbites word for word.
The process of developing your soundbites is about peeling
away the unnecessary to arrive at the essential. But before
2. Create six dynamic soundbites.
In order to speak your way to the hearts and minds of
people, you should have about six soundbites or talking
points. Soundbites are the essential things you want to
convey. They are memory nuggets, or blurbable ideas designed
to be easy for your audience to digest. You can incorporate
these six juicy jewels in any conversation. They can consist
of anecdotes, facts, statistics, stories, or something
unlikely, unusual, controversial, shocking, funny, humorous,
romantic, poignant, emotionally moving, or dramatic.
These six things will make your audience get their rear in
gear to dash out to buy your product or service, choose you
for a project or spokesperson, or pick up the phone right
now to order whatever you are selling. More than that, they
promise and deliver something worthwhile.
3. Acknowledge six of the most important things in stories
and in life: beauty, poetry, music, timing, truth and
As a media coach I’m immersed in the squeezing down of
concepts into a few pithy phrases that catch attention.
Recently, I was talking to a client whose stories were
already sifted into simplicity. That day I read a quote on
the internet that said, *Simplify things to their simplest
form, but no simpler.* She had. But the result was more like
pulp than ripe fruit. I asked for the expanded version so I
could taste their full flavor and help her decide how they
should be juiced down.
I try to view these soundbites as a new form of language-
haiku versus open verse, a Zen fountain versus a mountain
stream, flowers in a windowsill box versus a field of
poppies ready to take you to a land deep in the opiated
imagination. It is important to savor the lushness of nuance
and the musical flow of language while shaving off
4. Make potent points.
Keeping to your most potent points makes an interview move
forward more smoothly. Jane Swigart Ph.D, wrote her book,
*The Myth of the Perfect Mother* to help mothers parent
without guilt. To convey the difficulty and complexity of
motherhood, she came up with some key phrases like, *Being a
mother is like asking half the population to do brain
surgery without sending them to medical school.* And, *There
is a myth that women are divinely prepared for caregiving.*
Both phrases are short, to the point and can be spoken in
less than 10 seconds.
5. Find your own voice.
Your voice is as personal as your thumbprint. You may not
recognize it as such, but your pets, neighbors, loved ones
and colleagues do. You use phrases and have mannerisms that
are like the billboards that holler over city highways. Ask
your friends and family what your billboards are. They’ll be
able to tell you right away. Ask yourself which of these
patterns should be amplified, and which should be toned
down. Do you have a signature story that you tell over and
over again? These stories are one way we frame our lives.
Begin to notice how you talk about your experiences.
Copyright(c) 2004 Susan Harrow. All rights reserved.
Soundbites are all important when a producer or journalist
calls. You’re often competing with the best and the
brightest in your field. Will you make the cut? Find out how
you can by clicking here:
Susan Harrow is a top media coach, marketing strategist and author of *Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul*
(HarperCollins), *The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked on Oprah*, and *How You Can Get a 6-Figure Book Advance.* Her
clients include Fortune 500 CEOs, millionaires, best-selling
authors and successful entrepreneurs who have appeared on
Oprah, 60 Minutes, NPR, and in TIME, USA Today, Parade,
People, O, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc.