Thursday, January 28, 2010, 12:40 PM

Word cloud analysis of President Obama's State of the Union address

Word clouds are a creative way to gauge whether your message stands out in a speech. Pictured here is a word cloud of President Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday night.

Ask yourself whether the right themes break through, then give your own company's message a test drive for free at http://www.wordle.net/. You could insert your CEO's upcoming speech, the executive summary of your last annual report, or even a press release or a blog post. You may be surprised at what themes pop out most.

To be sure, a word cloud is not the final arbiter of whether your message passes the clarity test. It cannot account for tone, body language, compelling stories, or the speaker's ability to personally connect with his or her audience, but it's a fun tool that may add some fresh perspective to your company's messaging goals.

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