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JUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED
In its simplest form the body, or middle section, of a presentation can simply be a story, the story being the main storehouse of the presentation. The story can be one that entertains, teaches or inspires, or a combination of the three. The story may again break down into three acts or three scenes: 1) the scene before the main action, 2) the action or trouble that occurs 3) the aftermath or the new scenario that includes the resolution of the trouble.
Such a speech would again have an opening and closing section. The opening needs to get our attention in some way so we are eager to listen. The closing can be where the learning or the message of the story is embedded.
SAY THAT AGAIN PLEASE
In a variation of the above we could illustrate our speech message three times by using three distinct stories. Each story may have different places, different characters, and different time periods but will have a common thread, such as bravery. Each story may carry a point that can be summarised before the next story, but the three points will link to the overall theme of the speech.
Again we would make this whole thing complete by adding an opening and closing section. The opening being the hook for listener’s attention and the closing being the final wrap up that leaves us educated, inspired or gives a final entertainment high.
NOW BUILD IT
There are other structural forms and variations that are useful but now we are off to a good start. Choose a simple foundation from the above and overlay your content onto it. See how the bite size sections making things simpler and how the sequencing makes the whole presentation easy to follow.
Make a great start by building your words on a solid foundation. Even if your words and ideas are the stuff of outstanding genius they will lose power if they are uncaringly piled on top of each other. Meandering and unstructured presenters rarely hit the sweet spots often enough to keep an audience engaged. Words are delivered in their most memorable light only when they have an easily navigable format. Writers get familiar with structure to enable them to produce good novels, poems, songs or essays. As speakers we need to be equally dedicated to learning how to foundation our speeches.
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
Like the three musketeers, three precious jewels or the three wise men let’s build from the rule of three. Information often divides itself naturally into three creating three bite size chunks that are easy to remember. There is a rhythm to saying “firstly, this point, secondly this point, and thirdly this point. It has completeness to it as well as being tidy and brief. Content can easily be separated into four or five, but then simplicity and brevity start to suffer. If more detailed expression is needed the three main points can be broken into three sub points. So follow this guide and split your content into three sections.
Our three chunks of content now need to be book-ended or sandwiched between an opening section and a closing section. This is what we learned in school as a format for essays – begin with an introduction and finish with a conclusion. This in itself follows the rule of three as the component parts are now beginning, middle and end.
As a basic structure it’s simple, well tested – and thirdly, easily followed by our audience.