As a professional speaker I’ve found incredible value in employing and adhering to structure in my presentations. In this blog I’d like to relay why it’s been such a boon, and how important a good grasp of structure can be to giving a stellar presentation!
Without structure, there’s no guarantee that your audience will receive your message or perceive you (the speaker) as you anticipate. But it’s not so simple, as there are many differing ways to add structure to your presentation. Though they differ in their how, they all serve to package your message in a way that is optimally digestible for your audience. While you might be an expert in what you’re telling, you need your audience to keep up with you and take away key messages for your speech to be a success! So, how should you structure your presentation?
When choosing and crafting your presentation’s structure, keep at the forefront of your mind the needs of your audience. Why have you been invited to speak? What problems do they have that your expertise could solve? Once you feel you understand your audience’s needs, that’s when you can craft and employ a structure to successfully meet them! This leads to a couple of essential techniques for structuring your message.
Tell ‘em thrice!
Though the origin point of this idea is uncertain (some say Dale Carnegie, some say Aristotle) the concept itself is certainly effective! It’s as follows: “Tell them (the audience) what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you already told them.”
While that sounds obvious, again and again, I hear only the ‘tell em’. We forget the beginning and the end. If you are just giving the ‘tell ‘em’ believe me you are acting way below your pay grade.
It might seem repetitive, but this is how you ensure your message is retained. By hitting your message from three different angles (intro, body, conclusion) you’re optimising it to stick and resonate without repeating it so much that it becomes obnoxious, or your audience grows numb to it. Speaking of threes!
The Rule of Threes
It seems that in most any field you study (especially when pertaining to the arts) there’s a version of the rule of threes used to make things seem more pleasant and palatable to the human brain. Photographers and visual artists enjoy the rule of thirds, whereas us speakers and leaders find that stating your points in threes is almost always most effective and satisfying to the listener. As to why? Well, there’s theories that it combines a palatable rhythm and catchy simplicity with just enough different information to be able to deduce a pattern (people love patterns) and thus feel convincing. So, if you’re giving examples, stating reasons, or any combination of things for that matter – state them in threes!
Hopefully I’ve helped you to realise the importance of basic structure as well as how to implement it in your next presentation. If you’d like to do more to improve your presence and influence, then consider checking out my courses which allow you to cultivate more skills like this in real time, alongside peers and under the guidance of true industry professionals. The link is here!