In a post at Junta42, Joe Pulizzi discusses communication techniques he developed during frequent public-speaking engagements—300 in five years—and how they influence his online content. "The best idea I can share regarding public speaking is to keep it simple," he says. "To execute that concept, I stole a page from Aristotle."

Specifically, whether speaking at an event or writing a blog post, he follows these three rules:

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  • Tell them.
  • Tell them what you just told them.

On the surface, this approach might sound incredibly repetitive. But Pulizzi explains how it accomplishes two critical goals:

  • Setting clear expectations. "For most of my speeches, I put a big #1 on the PowerPoint presentation and tell the audience my expectation for this speech is to have the audience take one usable idea away with them," he notes. "If they do that, I should meet their expectations." It's difficult to disappoint when you know you can deliver—or even over-deliver—on an expectation you've set for an audience.
  • Creating multiple impressions. Simply put, repetition works. This doesn't mean you should say the same thing over and over again. Rather, be sure to provide a variety of anecdotes, lists or images that all communicate the same concept in different ways.

The easiest way to apply Pulizzi's advice to your online content is in the spirit of the classic five-paragraph essay format: A strong introductory paragraph that sets up your argument; a three-paragraph body that provides compelling support; and a strong concluding paragraph that reiterates your thesis and evidence.

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