Book Review: "Get to the Point, How to Say What You Mean and Get What You Want"

by Glenn Miller
WKDF, Nashville

I've been reading again. (Enter Andy Rooney: "Did ja ever notice how disc jockeys never seem to mention the latest book they've read? Why do you think that is? Is it because they never read books? Is it because they never read anything longer than a one-liner? And why do they call it a 'one-liner'? I've never seen one that was shorter than 3 lines. Why do you think that is?" sfx: click)

The book is "Get To The Point, How to Say What You Mean and Get What You Want", by Karen Berg and Andrew Gilman. (Hardback $15.95 from Bantam Books, 666 5th Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10103) While the focus of this book is on making presentations to superiors, subordinates, the media, or the masses in business/public relations situations, the emphasis is on communication. "In most situations, the most effective means of communication is human to human." And hey again, that's what radio is!

Chapter 4 is particularly good. It's entitled, "Building Strong Messages: Selling Points and Word Power." It contains tips like: "The strongest selling points are the ones that appeal to people's gee whiz or I didn't know that response--and/or hit them in one of three other vital areas: The heart, the tummy, or the pocketbook. The more vividly you do this, the more likely your listeners are to remember your messages." And: "Another important tool that's often overlooked: Our listeners' imagination. If we can use our speaking to engage the audience's imagination, we can get our messages across powerfully. If people can visualize your point, they become active listeners. The key to powerful language is really quite simple. Don't tell, illustrate." And another: "Creating good selling points doesn't require a consummate literary gift, but it does take thought, attention, and imagination." Yet another: "Use simple, everyday language as much as possible. Use strong, active, and above all, positive words." And, under "triplets": "There's something mystically powerful about grouping words in triplets. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book of rhetoric, and memorable examples abound, especially in oratory and advertising: Blood, sweat, and tears---Government of the people, by the people, and for the people---Round, firm, and fully packed---Snap, crackle, and pop. Learn to think in threes. It can add punch to your selling points and your key messages." (If it's so powerful, how come they didn't use triplets?)

Once again, the impetus of this book is making presentations in person, one-to-one, or to a group; but the accent is on communicating effectively. If your job calls for you to accompany the sales staff on calls and help present an advertising campaign or promotion, this will give you many ideas you can put to use immediately. Plus, it's full of one-liners.

That's all for now. I've got to get to the bookstore before it closes!

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