When it comes to putting together content for a presentation or speech, most people either over-think it or under-think it.
The over-thinkers try to come up with some clever way of organizing the content so the structure itself acts as novelty, an effort to keep the audience engaged.
The under-thinkers don't have time to think much about structure, so they just start putting together a slide deck, adding pieces like data, stories, or statements as they come to mind.
Both the over-thinkers and the under-thinkers end up acting against their audience, not for them. (And when a communicator acts against their audience, they're ultimately acting against themselves.)
When your presentation or speech's structure is complex, clever, or chaotic, your audiences don't track. They end up spending more mental energy trying to follow the flow of what's being communicated, rather than the key points you're trying to make.
Their cognitive load increases, stealing away valuable mental energy that should be spent on digesting and considering the main idea you're trying to communicate.
When putting together content for a presentation or speech, don't over-think it. And don't under-think it.
Just structure it simply.
The old dead Greek guys had it right. So did your eighth grade English teacher. So did your college public speaking prof.
Write an introduction that grabs your audience and tells them the goal of your presentation or speech.
Support that main point with three to five strong pillars of proof.
Spend a moment talking about possible pushback against what you're proposing and how you'd push back (kindly) against that pushback.
Then, finish up by summarizing what you've said and clearly articulating some sort of call to action.
When you keep your structure simple, you make it easy for your audience to follow your points and carefully consider what you're proposing—not how you're proposing it.
Commit today to keeping your structure simple and you'll see more audience engagement, tracking, and persuasion.
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