Keeping it simple
Last night I was out at the V & A for the opening of its new underwear exhibition. It was a happy co-incidence of needs and wants. I need to network and lovely lingerie is a particular weakness of mine.
The guests were a mixed bunch of journalists, bloggers, retailers and financiers. They made a glamourous bunch and supplied ample opportunity for my other weakness – people watching. In fact, it was quite hard to drag myself away from the spectacular bar in the lobby of the V&A to start my spin around the exhibits.
When I did, I found it was a fascinating journey through exactly what women were – and are – prepared to do to themselves the name of style and fashion. Right from the Georgian era with its wooden frames for supporting court dresses to a leather and latex ensemble which looked just as uncomfortable (I know that’s not the point) it was compelling all the way through.
But one piece stole the show. It was a beautiful, dark cerise satin corset edged in fine black lace. It had an impact and simplicity so sublime that – for me at least – it stole the show.
Then I got to thinking. Among exhibits of such intricacy and detail it is the one many visitors will remember. Why is that?
I believe that is almost completely due to its breath-taking simplicity.
When I coach people I tell them that although we will go into details of exactly what they will present and how, the same point always applies.
Do you know the simple, single truth of what they are delivering…whether it is in a TV interview or a presentation in front of a live gathering.
What is the over-arching thought to your narrative?
Media trainers talk a lot about bridging techniques. Of course some are subtle enough to get past the journalist – either in print or on air – but most are not. They are often a waste of time and serve as an irritant to the interviewer who will often use any attempt at diverting the line of discussion as an excuse for conflict….which always works on TV and radio in particular.
A similar thing happens in presentations when people delivering the speech or slide deck do not define their top line at the outset. The audience drifts because the speaker has not engaged them with a powerful, direct line of approach.
Earlier in the day I coached the highly intelligent Head of Research for a well known company. I asked her to think about her simple, single truth and put it front of mind. In fact, I may have said tattoo it on your hand. Once you have out some thought and passionate belief into what that is there will be no problem bringing the audience or the journalist with you because you will be speaking from a point of view of strength, credibility and resonance.
If you want to see how stunning simplicity is, then go and see the corset.
Of course it could work for you on another level but that’s not for this particular blog!