How should I structure my speech?

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How should I structure my speech?

9 Structures for Business Presentations

See that cursor blinking in the corner of your screen… staring at you as you sit down to craft your speech? And I say craft because giving a great speech is more than slapping a few buy levitra online thoughts together. The same content can be presented in different structures and may have completely different impacts on your audience.

Here are a 9 ideas on how to structure your speech:

1. The Sandwich: Opening, body and conclusion

This is the simplest structure (after not having one at all). More complex structures are a variation on this one. The opening thought needs to engage your audience and also introduce your topic. The middle section expands on the ideas or presents a solution and then the conclusion wraps everything up.

2. Story/Parable

Tell an engaging story that illustrates the topic and wrap up with the moral or objective.

3. Stepping Stones:

Make a point, give an example, build your next point, give another example, make another point, give another example. The beauty of this structure is that you are building one idea on another using narrative, which is a powerful memory hook.

4. Acronym:

Use an acronym to mark the points in your speech. “The secret weapon to giving a great speech is using PIE: Passion, Interesting Visuals and Entertaining stories.”

5. Problem – Solution:

Identify and analyze a problem and then propose a solution. Describe the problem as the introduction in a way that engages your audience with the pain points of the situation. Then use the solution as the body of the speech, expanding on why your position solves the problem. This is a highly effective sales structure for a persuasive speech.

6. Problem – Cause – Solution:

Similar to the above, adding an understanding of what caused the problem in the first place.

7. Pros & Cons:

Organize points by arguments for and against something. This is a more balanced approach and good for educating, not necessarily persuading.

8. 2 options:

Similar to the Pros & Cons approach, this structure describes 2 options available and compares them. This can be an effective tool to educate as well as persuade about a proposed option.

9. Metaphor

This is one of the most powerful structures for speechcraft. A well chosen metaphor will engage your audience and allow them to see aspects of the topic in a new way. Expand on aspects of the metaphor in the body of your speech, building to a conclusion that connects the metaphor back to the topic. “Getting over my fear of public speaking was as tough as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. In order to do this, I had to have the right tools, an expert guide and the determination to keep climbing, no matter how low my oxygen got. The tools for climbing are… the tools for getting over my fear of public speaking are… A sherpa is an expert of the mountain who knows what the pitfalls are, how to get there faster and in one piece. My public speaking trainer….”

As you listen to other speeches, notice what kind of structure they use. What has the biggest impact on you? What has an impact on the audience?

Have some fun trying out these different speech structures and let me know how it goes.

By: Anne Whitmore


1 Comment

Pamela Chatry

January 22, 2014 at 9:44 am

Great tips for making an impact on stage! Thanks for sharing them.

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