The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Simplifying the message

Michael Gerharz is one of those remarkable personalities I had the opportunity to learn to know while coaching in Seth Godin’s The Marketing Seminar. As a coach who helps leaders make the impact they were made to have, as he describes it, he is an expert in the art of communicating.

Reading his book “The AHA-Effect” I was reminded of the difference between creating an AHA moment and a WOW moment.

The first is difficult, the second almost easy. The first is to the point and delivers something the audience can’t unsee. The second leaves the audience with an overwhelming moment followed by emptiness.

Creating AHA moments requires hard work, not only to create something worth talking about but also to understand what it is from the audience’s perspective. Once creating the work is done, the only ones interested in it are those who did it. They are proud of their creation. Everyone else wonders if it is relevant for them. It’s only when they find out how it resonates with their story that they’ll become curious about how it is relevant for them.

The art of communicating serves to make the hard work invisible. The less visible it is, the clearer the message. A simple way Michael had to express the previous paragraph to his readers consisted in saying:

“There are two types of information. The one that interests me as the speaker. The one that is of interest to the audience.”

The fun side note is, that in this case, he couldn’t refrain himself from adding a footnote to be exact. But even that footnote reiterated the message.

Now, one could look at the information in many other ways and Wikipedia has a long article describing what information is. However, when it comes to preparing a presentation, the context is clear. There, someone is preparing and presenting his message. And there is an audience he has the opportunity to share his message with.

That’s where realizing the gap between the audience and the speaker’s interest is the most important information. Cutting it down to this simple contrast removed all the superfluous information, carving out the essential message.

As a side note:  While his book is only available in German, his masterclass teaching the art of communicating will be in English.


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