One of the key things I work on with clients is defining the essence of their message. What is it that you are trying to say? Can you express this in ten words or less? It sounds simple, but cutting to the core of your message is often quite a challenge. You have to decide what is really important and ignore the mountain of really useful information you have at your fingertips.

I suggest that you take a blank piece of paper and start brainstorming. Simply having a message in less than 10 words is not enough. That message has to be phrased in such a way as to inspire your audience to action. “The trends in personal banking in 2012” may be what your message is about. However, that is not a phrase that will inspire or intrigue your audience. “Customers want it their way – or no way” will be a better way of saying the same thing. It implies your knowledge of consumer behaviour, it also implies that you have a solution to address this issue.

What does all this have to do with a T-shirt? Well, if your foundational phrase isn’t good enough to be on a T-shirt, it probably isn’t good enough to be in your presentation. Ask yourself the question – Would I walk around in a T-shirt with my key message on it? If not, work with it until it is. Ask your friends, colleagues, family and your pets for their reaction. You will know when you have hit the sweet spot!