October 7, 2012 fm

From Speech Structure Building To USP

Last week, for the third consecutive year, I had the great pleasure to support my friend Prof. Conor Neill from IESE Business School. 142 motivated Executive MBAs from Madrid coming to Barcelona for a residential week. All anxious to learn about the secrets of persuasive communication. Together with our collaborators Mel Kelly, Tony Anagor and Tobias Rodrigues we ran five practical public speaking sessions for each of the nine subgroups – a logistical behemoth.

Before that, as part of Conor’s theoretical sessions I did my Speech Structure Building™ exercise. In three subgroups we created an impromptu speech entitled “Why an Executive MBA at IESE Business School”?

The four-step Speech Structure Building Method™ provided us with great content coming from the protagonists themselves – the Executive MBAs.

First, we defined the three top reasons for each of the three groups of students. The first group, for example, defined knowledge, challenge and change as the three top reasons:

Based on this bottom-up content collection you can now build an aggregated speech, which translates into a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the Executive MBA program of IESE Business School.

But – one after another.

In a second step you look for cohesive content.

In a third step you get rid of redundancies. Choose the stronger umbrella terms.

In a fourth step you select the three top topics. What makes the EMBA program of IESE Business School unique? Is it a unique knowledge transfer? Other schools have great professors as well. Be critical about each point. Select the subtopics that really make a difference. In our example – and based on three years of experience with this specific program – I choose change, people and excellence:

In a fifth step you define a climax structure. What is the number one driver of uniqueness? Which one is the top topic of the top topics of the top topics? Since I follow up on some of my students and I see how they fulfill their dreams like Luis does with Parclick, I choose (personal) change as the most important reason to join the IESE EMBA program. For me, people will always beat infrastructure and processes. That’s why I choose people as the second most important reason. Now you have an ABC climax structure:

In a sixth and final step you build the Speech Structure Building™ for the speech “Why an Executive MBA at IESE Business School?”:

You can adapt this six-step process to any company, department, product or service. You can use the results for your communication, PR, website. This is not the voice of a marketing department, but the voice of 142 Executive MBAs. Next time someone asks me, “So – what is this EMBA thing at IESE all about?”, I will say, “Excellence, people and change!”

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