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How To Build A Presentation: Four Ways To Achieve Your Purpose

How To Build A Presentation: Four Ways To Achieve Your Purpose

What's the best way to organize a speech for success? Here are four ways to build a presentation to be most effective and achieve your purpose.

If you want to succeed in the public speaking aspects of your job, it's best to understand why you're speaking.

Sound obvious? Yet too many presenters think their primary task is to deliver information. It never is. Speaking in public is always about positively influencing your audience. For that to happen, you need to be crystal clear—even more than any data you're sharing—on your purpose in giving the speech. Only when you've resolved that in your mind do you even know what you should say or show!

It's all in Chapter 3, "Organizing Your Materials and Telling Your Story," in my book, How to Give a Speech. Click on the image below for a Free Chapter! Also find it here on Amazon.

Dr. Gary Genard's Public Speaking Handbook, How to Give a Speech

But shouldn't your speech have a theme and a logical framework that will allow you to succeed? Of course! Theme-based speeches and presentations are inherently powerful and persuasive. And when they proceed logically, listeners can stay with you every step of the way.

Here are four classic formats for building a speech that provide structure and direction. Which of them you use is determined by the nature of your audience, your purpose with those listeners, your content, and the occasion. All of those variables matter, and have a role in determining which format you should choose if you want to know how to be a clear, concise, and compelling speaker

Four Effective Formats For Building A Presentation

  1. Chronological. Some presentations cry out for a chronological approach. Bringing new employees up to speed on the history of your company? That's a natural for a timeline on the organization! Taking to current employees, on the other hand, about a change in direction or practices might benefit from a look backward at previous practices. Talks on historical subjects also lend themselves beautifully to this format. When you opt for a chronological approach, the segments of your speech virtually arrange themselves, making this aspect of your preparation much easier.
  2. Problem-Solution. Do your listeners need to be educated about a problem before you can discuss a solution? (Here are 12 Ways To Start A Speech To Grab Any Audience.) A problem-solution format would work well in that situation. Let's say that you work for an organization that addresses gang violence. If you're pitching to foundations for funding, you may want to educate your listeners on the roots of the problem. If your audience is more concerned with immediate results (for instance, if you were presenting to an audience of police officers), you may decide to skip a lengthy discussion on causes of the problem, and get right to comparing possible solutions to the pressing issue). 
  3. Pro-Con. This is another format that, like a chronological approach, can result in a clean and uncluttered presentation. (Here's how to outline a speech for a great performance. And here's my Free Tips and Tricks Guide, Want To Wow Your Audience? Here's How To Prepare Your Speech.) It also has the advantage of a more dramatic approach, as the opposing sides or arguments can be clearly laid out. Debating society contests are great examples of this structure in action. Speakers at The Oxford Union at Oxford University, for instance, argue in favor or against a motion that has been decided beforehand. But don't choose this approach if you're planning a lopsided view of the issue. You'll be far more effective if you provide an even-handed look at the problem, which happens to have more evidence and a stronger argument for the side you're on. 
  4. Story. Storytelling is an instant attention-getter-and-keeper if done right. Can you frame your talk around a compelling story? We all have stories to tell—companies and organizations no less than individuals. If you frame your message in the context of a compelling story, with all the drama, conflict, and emotions that people bring to their actions, you will have a very captive audience. Storytelling is easy if you (1) find a way to weave your data it into a story that has people at the center; and (2) understand that you already have LOTS of stories to tell. Those team triumphs, unexpected challenges, benefits to clients, etc. aren't just cases or projects: they're natural stories!

Do you like mysteries and supernatural suspense? — Here's something for you!

London, 1888. 'Jack the Ripper' is terrorizing London. Scotland Yard surgeon/detective Dr. William Scarlet is about to uncover his identity. Year of the Rippers: A Supernatural Thriller.

Year of the Rippers: A Supernatural Thriller, a Dr. William Scarlet Mystery, by Gary Genard.

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Cropped headshot for Speak for Leadership back cover -- 8.30.21

Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching  and corporate group training worldwide. He was named for nine consecutive years as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals, and also named as One of America's Top 5 Speech CoachesHe is the author of the Amazon Best-Sellers How to Give a Speech and Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership Presence. His book, Fearless Speakingwas named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." He is also the author of the Dr. William Scarlet Mysteries. Contact Gary here. 


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