July 27, 2014

Short lists of concise claims

It is often necessary to produce a short list of concise claims. A large fraction of all PowerPoint slides fit that model. So does the list of news in, for example, a typical product press release.

Making such lists is hard, for at least three unavoidable reasons:

Even so, many claims lists are yet worse than they need to be.

To create or improve a claims list, it helps to establish goals by asking

and also to check resources by assessing:

In the case of a product upgrade, answers often resemble:

So my advice for product-upgrade press releases commonly starts:

My advice for more general collateral, such a website and slide decks, often starts similarly, except that there’s more emphasis on saying one group of things to appeal to techies, and another group of things directed at line-of-business buyers. And so we’re back to what’s my usual advice anyway — tell several good stories, and just make sure they don’t contradict each other.

Better organization, however, only fixes part of the problem; the individual claims often need a lot of work as well. Common failings include (and these overlap):

Simplifying that list of concerns leads to a three-item checklist:

While it’s not always the best approach, I do have a technique that can sometimes address failings in any of those criteria — the two-clause claim. It has at least two major forms:

Let me illustrate via some dummy examples.

In essence, I’m suggesting that every claim should tell a mini-story of its own.

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26 Responses to “Short lists of concise claims”

  1. Presentations for small audiences | Strategic Messaging on August 24th, 2014 3:30 am

    […] And at the risk of drowning in excessive Cs, slide decks are a primary venue for a recent post topic: Short lists of Concise Claims. […]

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