Monday, September 28, 2009

Speaking Skills: Planning (part 2)

Part 3 of "Professionally Speaking: Six Keys to Better Presentations," is the continuation of the second key: Planning.

Many people don’t think to outline or plan their speeches beyond the main points they want to make. You should know that a very clear, simple outline can help you craft an effective speech and get your message across very clearly. I frequently call on the five-paragraph essay form I learned in high school:

  • Introduction (no more than 10% of your speech, and be sure to clearly outline what you will cover)
  • Point one (with a clear pause before beginning)
  • Point two (another clear pause)
  • Point three (a final pause)
  • Conclusion (no more than 10% of your speech, be sure to tell them what you just covered).

This simple structure will help you get to the point quickly and help your listeners keep with you. You will state your thesis very clearly in the intro. It helps to follow that with a statement covering what your main three points will be. After a pause, begin with the first point. Pause, then the second point; pause again, then the third point. A final pause comes before the conclusion, where you reiterate the points you covered, restate your thesis, and end with a call to action (covered in a future post).

A Toastmasters colleague of mine, Brian Castelli, uses the following system to structure his speeches:

  • Position (your approach, your opinion)
  • Action (action you recommend)
  • Benefit (results from the action)

You can easily work this PAB structure as the three main points of your speech. This structure is particularly useful when you are trying to persuade your audience to your point of view.

Next: Research and Scripting

1 comment:

Coach Laura said...

Brian was inspired to do a thorough post on his position-action-benefit structure! Check it out at!