Every speech and every business presentation should be built upon a solid structure to keep you on point and on time, and to help the audience make sense of what you’re talking about. Every speech and every presentation should have three main parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end.
In public speaking, we often think of that three-step structure as an Introduction, a Body, and a Conclusion. We must set the stage with an introduction, then present our content, and then wrap everything up. This is a good way to think about your speech or presentation when you are putting together your content.
But there are some other ways to think of those same three parts that might help you think about and frame your content even better. Here’s a summary of four other approaches to consider.
1) Problem, Solution, Result. What is the problem, what is the solution, and what great outcomes happen when we fix it. This one works well for problem-solving presentations.
2) What, So What, What Next. What is the situation is, why does it matter, and what action should we take as a result of it. This one works well for persuasive presentations.
3) Curiosity, Insights, Commitment. First, hook your audience in with curiosity, then provide new information, and fi9nally ask for a commitment and the specific actions you want them to take. This approach works well for a storytelling presentation that seeks to persuade.
4) Empathy, Suspense, Surprise. Begin by connecting with the audience emotionally, then build suspense with nee information, and concludes with a surprise that makes the important point you are trying to make. This one works well with storytelling that seeks to enlighten an audience.
Note that in all of these potential structures, the sequence of the steps is crucial; you can’t skip steps. The situation, problems, action steps, and positive outcomes must be clearly defined.
Great speeches and presentations are built upon solid structures. Find the one that best fits your content and you will set yourself up for great speaking success.