Data-driven messages can be complex. They can ramble through spreadsheets. Worse, they can fail to make points.

But you can eliminate these issues by focusing your message on three key points.

Picking three things to focus on isn’t hard. Just ask yourself, “What are the three things that my listeners must remember?”

Several years ago, my daughter Annie ran for secretary of the fifth grade class at Dunwoody Springs Elementary School. When she showed me her campaign speech, I proceeded to tear it apart (critically, not literally). She got mad and stormed out the door.

After I apologized, I said, “Annie, what are three things you really want them to remember about you? Tell me in three short sentences.”

She thought about it for a moment and then said, “First, I will work hard. Second, I will be a good listener. Third, I will make sure that we keep the bathrooms clean.”


I say the same things to my business clients that I said to my daughter. “What are the three things that you really want the audience to remember?”

For a data-driven message, those three points are usually not numbers. They’re typically business conclusions driven by numbers.

Let’s say that you’re trying to persuade a client to allow you to automate their warehouse with robots.

There is plenty of data to support the idea that robots will streamline processes, save money and help the client meet their growth goals. But the three points of the presentation should not focus on the data. Rather the three points should focus on the business values driven by the data. It might sound like this:

“By using robots to automate your warehouse picking process, you’ll recognize three key benefits:

  • Automation Will Save Labor Costs
  • The Shipping Process will be Improved
  • You’ll Meet Your Target Growth Goals”

By focusing your message on three key points, you simplify the presentation. For that, your listeners will thank you.

Joey Asher

Joey AsherJoey Asher has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.”