The reports keep coming in. There are a lot of mediocre to bad speakers out there. And every poor presentation adds to the frustration – the sense that “this is a waste of time.”
There really are some simple fixes. If each speaker would simply remember (and follow) some simple rules, the audience would be less frustrated and more engaged.
In this post, I will focus on the structure, the organization of the presentation. And the structure is this:
Beginning, Middle, and End.
I think I heard it put in this simple formula first by Frank Luntz, but it is in every speech textbook since the beginning of time, using the more old-fashioned wording. Speeches should have an:
In other words, a
Start with an inviting, engaging Beginning
Have a substantive Middle
And, have a call-to-action End
This menu/template/formula calls for the following:
- You need a “Hook” to grab the attention of the audience. As you look your audience in the eye, tell some story, use some quote, to engage, to grab, to “demand!” their attention. Make it powerful, as you pull your audience into your presentation.This part of your speech should include your compelling Hook, then your thesis statement — the speech in one clear, compelling sentence — then a preview of what’s coming next.
- The body of your speech should be substantive and very, very easy to follow. Simple, but not simplistic. Probably with main points — more than two, but not too many.
- Review what you have said, then end with a clear call to action. A “This is what you should do with what you have learned here” call. Make sure your audience knows what they can do with this material.
One teacher put it this way. Every speech or presentation should have a clear “what” and then a “so what?”
Here’s my observation. The better speakers have pretty good “Middles”. But the very best speakers have superb “Hooks”, and really clear “Calls to Action”. So, here’s my suggestion — start working a lot more diligently on these two aspects.
SGR is excited to offer a new workshop on presentation skills taught by Randy Mayeux entitled Loud and Clear. It is an intensive two-day workshop where each candidate does multiple presentations which are video recorded and critiqued to help the candidates improve in terms of preparation, organization and delivery of the message. Enrollment is limited to six participants per session, and the workshop has been specifically designed for individuals who present to governing bodies. This can be particularly beneficial to key executives as you go into budget workshop season. Contact Krisa Delacruz at Krisa@GovernmentResource.com for more information.
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