CHAMPION STRATEGIES PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – JULY 17th (PART ONE)
Module Three: Creating a Basic Outline
The main advantage of creating an outline is that it helps you to organize your thoughts. The audience gets more out of a presentation when it is well-organized. They also are more likely to think that the speaker knows the subject thoroughly and has given some thought on how to present it.
In this module we will be considering a hypothetical presentation about a project that has just been completed, but the general approach we will consider is applicable to just about any type of presentation.
Often this approach is seen as being similar to creating a body. You start with the skeleton – the basic outline, the bare minimum of the speech in something like the shape that it will eventually take – and progress by adding meat to the bones, and layering the rest on top of that.
At key points of the presentation, specific issues will need to be confronted, and by allotting them a place in the basic outline you will be able to ensure that these are prioritized and addressed correctly.
Outlining the Situation
Almost every project addresses a problem, an opportunity, or both. An effective way to introduce your speech is by outlining the situation that your project addresses. This approach forces you to get to the point right away.
In outlining the situation, try to avoid giving too much history or background. Most people won’t care about that sort of information. If you start out by discussing something people don’t care about, it will be hard to recapture their interest.
Provide only the background information people will need to understand the situation. Your audience in many cases may already know the background. Covering old ground will simply lead to a “here we go again” feeling in the room.
So instead of beginning with a history of the problem, the nature of the problem can be covered in a few sentences, and followed with a statement of what you as a group decided had to be done about it. It is beneficial to make reference to situations and occasions with which the audience is familiar. In doing this you will keep their attention by recognizing that their opinions mattered and were taken into account.
The introduction of a presentation is where you will often take and hold an audience’s attention, or lose it for good. It is wise, then, to keep an introduction brief and informative, and set the scene for the rest of the presentation.
In an introduction, there are just a few essential elements to keep in mind. First of all, you should introduce yourself in your capacity with regards to the project. Even if everyone there knows you, it helps to explain exactly why you are delivering the presentation. You should then give a brief overview of what the presentation seeks to address.
This will stop anyone in the audience from thinking “When are they going to get to the bit about x?”, and allow all present to concentrate on the presentation itself.
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