What Are Talking Points in Meetings?
“Talking points” is a term used to describe a scripted agenda of discussion topics a speaker or presenter uses in a forum such as a meeting. Talking points may be bulleted notes that bring up particular ideas for discussion or debate. Talking points can also serve as reminder prompts for a speaker, resulting in a conversational, less-rehearsed delivery.
If you’re preparing for a meeting in which you are delivering a project update, a statistical report or otherwise informing meeting attendees of relevant information, you may opt to develop talking points. In this instance, talking points would likely consist of key areas that require focus and elaboration. For example, if you are presenting a monthly newsletter status report to a marketing department, talking points would likely include deadlines, printing costs, distribution, content and ad revenue.
Business professionals delivering information at a meeting may eschew a fully prepared, written script in favor of talking points. This approach allows the presenter to appear as if he is speaking off-the-cuff, coming across as knowledgeable and less rehearsed. Talking points for this type of meeting are usually detailed, short paragraphs with bullet points for specific facts or figures. For example, an executive delivering a speech on visitor volume to a convention group may have talking points that include month-to-month visitor statistics and economic impact figures.
Often, brainstorming meetings are developed around pre-established talking points. The talking points serve as a starting point for initiating conversation and idea generation. For example, an interior design team meeting about potential new themes for a sports bar might have talking points that include overall theme, colors, fabrics, decor elements and entertainment features.
Talking points can introduce discussion and debate in a meeting. For example, a meeting to discuss the benefits of outsourcing graphic design versus hiring an in-house designer might include talking points that encourage attendees to look at the pros and cons of each approach. Talking points would likely include budget considerations, experience levels, ease of access and experience.
Politicians and business leaders frequently develop talking points to present a persuasive argument to a group or meeting. In this instance, talking points are the key issues related to a single subject. For example, a public official addressing a meeting of the city council in an attempt to get better signage at busy intersections might develop talking points that include accident reports and traffic volume.