One of the more common questions I receive is how should I organise my thoughts in my speech or presentation? Often this question comes from a basis of not understanding the basic speech structures than can be used. Following the established speech structures provides you with a solid framework that you know works – allowing you to concentrate on making sure your material is as good as it can be. This is the first, in a number of entries, where I’ll discuss each of the structures that can be used in your speeches.
The most basic of speech structures is the classic opening, body, and conclusion.
As discussed in various other blog entries and articles the opening is your opportunity to get the attention of the audience, get them interested in what you are going to say, and to transition to your first main point. Avoid the temptation to start covering any points in detail – your focus should be simply to get the attention and interest of your audience.
The body is where you can cover the detail that you want to share with your audience. In delivering the detail you want to share remember that audiences will remember, generally, about 3 or 4 main points. The more you cover the less they will likely remember.
Your conclusion is where the audience will form their final impressions of what you said (and how you said it) – so use it wisely! This is not the time or place to add new arguments of points instead use the conclusion as somewhere to remind the audience of your key points and any call to action you would like the audience to adopt. Finish strongly and definitely and your audience will walk away with a positive impression and your speech.