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Jun 15, 2018

NBlog June 15 - parting messages

Advertisers know the value of a parting message at the end of an advertisement. It's something catchy to stick in the memory, reminding people about the advertisement or rather the messages the ad was meant to convey, generally concerning the brand rather than the specific product.

Making ads memorable is one thing: making them influential or effective is another. Some ads are memorable for the wrong reasons, annoying and intrusive rather than enticing and beneficial. However, one man's hot button is another's cancel/exit. Ads are usually targeted at audience segments or categories, as opposed to everyone, though, so don't be surprised that you hate some ads and love others.

Translating that approach to security awareness, the end of an awareness event is just as important as the start and the main body of the session. It’s your final chance to press home the key awareness messages and set people thinking about the session as they wander off. 

In the closing remarks at the end of your seminars, workshops, courses, management presentations etc., try these ideas for size: 

  1. Give a brief summary/recap of the main points;
  2. Specifically mention anything that noticeably resonated with the audience, created a stir, got people talking or made them laugh;
  3. Mention - or better still promote - further awareness and training events/sessions, policies, briefings etc. that attendees might enjoy;  
  4. Persuade attendees to put something from the session into action that very day or week;  
  5. Invite attendees to hang back and ‘have a quick word with you’, handling any further questions, issues, concerns, comments and (most valuable of all for you) feedback on the awareness session.   

Personally, I despise the formulaic approach often recommended for inexperienced presenters, namely "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em". It is crude, manipulative and counterproductive, I feel ... but then I present a lot and don't like being too predictable. 

Another little tip is to front-load the session with the most important messages, if you can, especially if it is a long session or follows a lunch break. Catch their attention before they doze off, or better still keep them awake with your best possible performance. If you need to cover other stuff first, let them know that there's something big coming up later, and remind them again before you deliver it. Punctuate the session in some way as you move from segment-to-segment. I'll blog about punctuating and structuring sessions another time.