RESULTS is committed to helping you hone your advocacy skills, and the Laser Talk is a powerful and direct method of getting complex information across quickly and concisely. The Laser Talk helps you to talk about our issues in a short and compelling ‘pitch’. The Laser Talk is a short, focused, information-dense speech that informs, engages, and gives a call to action. We use them whenever we want to convey the key information about an issue and ask somebody to take action; when we talk to our MPs, when we call editors, when we invite people to attend RESULTS events or even when unexpectedly running into an MP in the street!
The purpose of the Laser Talk is to provide volunteers with the means and structure to help us remember key points and to speak in an informed manner about complex issues. They are extremely useful for not only being able to speak about our issues, but for learning the key information about a topic. It allows us to be confident and focused when we speak.
Structure of the Talk – EPIC
When writing your talk, aim to be EPIC!
Engage the listener – key statistics, a personal story, or quirky fact. Try for a ‘hook’.
State the Problem – what is the problem that we’re seeking to solve?
Inform about solutions – what is the solution to the problem we’re calling for?
Call to action – what do you want the listener to do?
Teaching your Talk
Following this technique is a good way to deliver your Laser Talk to a RESULTS Group in a meeting, so others can learn the material:
- Give your Talk (ideally you’ve learned your Talk and can deliver it without notes).
- Repeat it a second time but pause for a couple of seconds in places to leave gaps in the information. Fill in the gaps yourself to emphasise key points. g. “Every year over…[pause] 3 million [pause]… people die of 3 main epidemics”
- Repeat again, but this time when you leave gaps, get your Group members to fill them in by saying the key points out loud. g. Speaker: “Every year…how many?…” Audience: “3 million!” Speaker: “…3 million people die of 3 main epidemics.”
- Repeat again, but this time when you leave gaps, get your Group members to fill the information in silently to themselves. g. Speaker: “Every year…how many?…” Audience: [silence] Speaker: “…3 million people die of 3 main epidemics.”
- Get Group members to pair up and give their version of the Talk to each other. It doesn’t matter if they’re not word perfect, if the key information is included.
- Get a Group member to stand up and give the Talk to the Group.
Points to Remember
A ‘good’ Laser Talk is one that is easy for others to follow and repeat. The following guidelines will assist you in achieving this:
- Keep your Talk to much less than 2 minutes – a really effective Laser Talk usually comes in at 1 minute or even less.
- Your Talk should contain a maximum of about 5-6 key points of information.
- Ideally, deliver your Talk without notes – a good test of how ‘memorable’ it is!
- Using points in sets of three, where you can, is an effective delivery technique.
g. “There are 3 things that need to happen next. 1) More funding for the Global Fund 2) Better TB diagnostic tools and 3) Better integration of TB and HIV services”
- You don’t have to include all of the information in the F&A sheet – in fact, it’s better if you don’t, and almost impossible if you stick to the all-important 1 minute goal! Pick out the most compelling information to tell a story, rather than packing in all the information and confusing your audience.
Your own notes
After completing this exercise with your Group, list the ideas that came out of your Talk or any experiences you have. Ask: What did you like in particular about a Laser Talk you heard? What worked and what didn’t?
Example 1: RESULTS Laser Talk
Here is a useful example you can start with, learning the RESULTS Laser Talk that describes who we are and what we do:
RESULTS is a movement of passionate, committed, everyday people. Together we use our voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. As volunteers we receive training, support and inspiration to become skilled advocates. In time, we learn to effectively advise policymakers, guiding them toward decisions that increase access to health, education and economic opportunity. Together, we realise the incredible power we possess to use our voices to change the world.
Example 2: Global Fund Laser Talk
It is also useful to think of creating different laser talks depending on the campaign RESULTS is running at a given time. For example, this is a Laser Talk you can use when writing a letter, or speaking to a parliamentarian about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has saved 17 million lives since 2002. Yet, 3.4 million people still die from these diseases annually and millions more lack access to testing and treatment. On September 16, 2016, the Global Fund will hold its replenishment conference in Montreal, Canada, and is seeking $13 billion for the period 2017-2019 to save another 8 million lives. Australia’s fair share is $300 million. Will you sign our letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs asking that Australia make a strong and fair contribution to the Global Fund?
Once developed and practiced, the LaserTalk is a powerful and effective way of communicating. Remember however, you are the advocate and your voice has the power. Use these examples as a guide and draw from this resource, but have fun, experiment, and develop your own way of expressing your relationship to RESULTS.