Word on the Street

The beloved, classic children’s television show Sesame Street offers some pearls of wisdom, says writer Sue Horner. Here are a few tips on communication that work well at home, at school, and out on “the street”.

1. Know your audience. What’s important to them? What do they already know and how quickly can you make your point?

2.  Be clear about what you need to get across. Sharing too many points will water down your message, and probably bore your audience. What one thing do you want people to remember?

3.  Tell a story to make it memorable. We’re more likely to remember a fact, a number or a summary when it has been wrapped in a story.

4.  Keep it easy to read and understand. You may not have children reading your work, but you will have people with little time to read, so help them out by getting to the point. No one will complain that you’ve made it too easy to understand.

5.  Keep it short. Who has time or patience for long introductions, lengthy paragraphs, long sentences, or complicated words?

6.  Think about references to pop culture. They are great ways to capture attention or make a connection. You could echo the words of a song, reflect current television shows or parody an ad.
7.  Don’t be afraid to be silly. Play with words and keep it light!

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