Can members of your leadership team quickly express your mission and describe what differentiates your community?
By creating basic talking points, you can ensure that your community relations director and other executives can — on the spur of the moment, if necessary — summarize your community’s brand positioning. Talking points can help get your team on the same page in a variety of settings, including interviews with local media, presentations to the greater community or impromptu questions at events.
How do standardized talking points strengthen your brand, and what process should you use for creating them?
How Talking Points Can Benefit Your Community
If members of your leadership team speak in public often or even occasionally, talking points can serve as an effective tool for preparation. Speakers should craft their individual presentations in their own words and customize them for the occasion, but talking points provide a foundation for consistent messaging.
What other benefits can talking points provide your organization?
- They promote buy-in from all your community leaders. The process of fleshing out your talking points and editing them in conjunction with your community leaders ensures that everyone takes ownership of the final result.
- They help your team members stay on message during interviews, presentations, panel discussions and other public appearances. Especially during unscripted or impromptu talks, it’s easy to become sidetracked and fail to stress key points. With a list of bulleted talking points ready, your team members can get back on message very quickly to keep your public relations strategy on target.
- They help you deliver a consistent message. Over time, your community’s messaging can start to creep away from the information you hope to stress. As you periodically update your talking points, you can use the previous version as the basis for future iterations to help maintain consistency.
- They work for a variety of community representatives. By relying on a larger circle of people, you increase the chances of more frequent, positive exposure for your community.
Once you’re ready to begin creating talking points for your community, what steps should you follow?
1. Clarify Your Primary Message
What are the most important points you want to get across about your community? Who will be the key audiences? Nailing down the core messages and purpose for your talking points is the first step. Think about what you want team members to accomplish in their presentations and the takeaways you want to provide to listeners.
2. Craft the Language
Once your team has agreed on the core message and audience, it’s time to write the brief bullet points that will become your talking points.
Consider grouping your information into a few primary categories: your community’s mission, the ways in which you provide value to seniors, a personal anecdote of a resident who has benefited from your services and a call to action. You’ll also want to provide a quick way for listeners to get more information, such as the URL for your website.
3. Avoid Common Pitfalls
Don’t let your simple, concise talking points turn into an essay. Brevity and clarity are critical, and getting too wordy will defeat your purpose. Your talking points should be easy for team members to refer to and jog their memories. Writing too much can become overwhelming and can encourage speakers to read the information rather than speaking from their hearts.
4. Format Effectively
Once you have your talking points written, create an organized document that you can provide in both printed and electronic formats to community leaders. For each primary talking point, you can include one or two brief, supporting statements. You may also want to develop the information in a question-and-answer format to prepare team members for interviews or panel discussions.
Deliver a Meaningful Message with Talking Points
In a variety of settings, focused talking points can keep your speakers on track and leave audience members with a positive impression of your community. By dedicating some time to crafting an engaging message and formatting succinct talking points, you arm your community leaders with a powerful tool.