The Main Message

April 7, 2021

As a presenter, you have total control of what you say to your audience.  Unfortunately, you have no control of what your audience takes away from your presentation.  And that is why it is crucial, when you are the speaker, the presenter, or the Zoom meeting leader, to state plainly and clearly your main message in the opening 90 seconds of your speaking opportunity.

After you’ve thanked your audience and established common ground, your main message comes next.  It’s the third of six steps our training team at Wixted & Company recommends when kicking off a presentation.

Your main message is the one, big idea you want your audience to know.  A short, declarative statement that you can support or defend.  Not a lengthy summary of what you will be covering – you’ll get to the details later.  Instead, boil it down to just one sentence of 10 to 12 words that you can easily remember and repeat.

Here are a few examples: 

     “Our sales staff is committed to exceeding our goals for 2021.” 

     “This hospital is dedicated to the care and safety of our patients.”

     “Our marketing team has a strong track record of serving our clients.”

Notice the strength in the language.  Words like “committed” and “dedicated,” and phrases like “exceeding our goals” and “strong track record.”  These words and phrases have sizzle, and they will help to motivate and persuade your audiences.   

Again, you will have plenty of time later in your presentation to provide the PROOF of your main message.  That’s when you’ll break out the data, the examples, and one of the most critical pieces of effective communication – storytelling, which we will discuss in a future Wixted & Company blog.   


By Jeff Johnson: 

Jeff is a former television anchor and reporter for CBS and ABC affiliates in the Midwest.  In those roles, Jeff has covered state and national events, including the World Series and the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  He has interviewed former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, football great Walter Payton, and baseball legend Bob Feller. Jeff has produced and directed for the Kansas City Royals, Iowa State University, and the PGA Tour.  Jeff earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University, and he minored in Psychology.