Dont Confuse Agendas with MessagesPresenters frequently mistake an agenda for a message, which is a big mistake. Why?

  • Agendas are forgotten. Messages are remembered.
  • An agenda is a laundry list of topics.  A message is the key take-away of your presentation.
  • An agenda tells what will be covered. A message conveys the value those topics support.
  • An agenda is a road map.  A message is the value of the trip.

So, why do presenters confuse an agenda or “what we will be covering” with a message? Here is what I have observed:

  • They don’t know the difference.
  • They are too lazy to figure out a message when it is just easier to give an agenda.
  • They assume listeners will figure out the message by the end.
  • They are not clear on the message themselves.
  • They have not thought through what the message is for that particular listener.

Sample Messages

A message is what you want listeners to remember about your product/service and its impact on their organization. Here are three practical message templates:

  • A list of 3 reasons: XYZ  provides.., …, and… which will (save you.., grow your…, or, meet your objective)
  • A statement: As you view this demo, notice how easy and elegant it is to do…which will reduce current..
  • A competitive statement: Every company can do X, but only ABC can give you X AND…, which will satisfy your new guidelines.   

A meaningful message is concise, specific to that listener, easily remembered and tends to close more business more quickly.

Easiest Way to Develop Your Message

Imagine you are at the end of your presentation/demo and are saying, “In summary…” What would you say?  Chances are it won’t be an agenda and that it will be the key message of all your information.  Take that message and plug it into the beginning of your presentation and you will likely have your winning, relevant, memorable message for that listener.

Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Anne-Miller2.jpgFor 25+ years Anne Miller has been the go-to lady for demo and presentation coaching and training. She has worked with CEOs for IPOs down to junior hires at tech firms and with every function and level in between, particularly in media, digital, financial, technical, and professional service industries.