This blog is based on Toastmasters material and my experience structuring content through my toastmasters speeches.
There are three phases to this creating great content for your speech.
- Firstly, the purpose of your presentation
- Secondly, get to know your audience
- Finally, the structuring of your content.
1. General Purpose and Specific Purpose
The General Purpose is the Broad intention of the presentation.
It will be one of the following
1.Inform 2.Persuade 3.Entertain 4.Inspire
Your speech may contain one or all of the above, but there will always be an overriding purpose.
For example a speech written to Inspire, may also entertain and inform, yet the General Purpose is to Inspire.
The Specific purpose is a one sentence statement, what is to be accomplished by the presentation.
It must be Specific and attainable. This is the specific goal of your presentation and will often be your Call To Action(CTA) at the end of your presentation.
Examples of General and specific purposes
Speech Topic: The Advantages of Diet & Exercise
General Purpose: To persuade
Specific Purpose: The group will be persuaded to exercise regularly and eat right
2. Know your audience
Find out as much as you can about your audience, this will allow you tailor your presentation to them.
For example a presentation to a group of college students will differ to a presentation in the workplace.
Once you understand your General Purpose,Specific Purpose, and your audience, then you can begin to write and structure your content.
3. Structuring your content
In simple terms a speech is split in to three sections
These three sections can be best explained using the speech triangle as explained by Felicity Barber in the October 2015 Toastmasters Magazine.
For a stellar opening, choose a story or killer fact that illustrates the point you’re trying to make. You want to pick something that centers on an individual or one aspect of a problem. It will grab the attention of the audience and build a connection with them.
Another way of grabbing the audiences attentions is to ask an interesting question, to which the audience may not know the answer.
Outline the problem you’re trying to solve and how you plan to go about it. This is your chance to convince the audience why the issue you’re tackling is important.
Typically you will break the body in to 3/4 points, which may be divided in to a number of sub-points. You should back up the key points with statistics/testimonials.
It’s critical that in this part of the speech you outline a logical case, built on strong evidence.
This is where you explain how the issue relates to the audience and what they can do to tackle it.
The Conclusion should inform the audience you are about to close, so perhaps you should state “In conclusion” at the beginning of your conclusion, this captures the audiences attention that you are about to close.
The conclusion provides an opportunity to reiterate the purpose of the presentation,should be a summary of your presentation and should not contain new information.
In this blog we covered the 3 phases of content creation
- The purpose of your presentation – the general and specific purposes
- Learn about your audience
- Content is structured in to a opening, body and conclusion
Content creation – Tips
- Audiences enjoy stories, the greatest speeches are great stories,what story are your trying to tell?
- Write for the ear, not for the eye i.e write like you talk.
- Keep it concise and don’t be afraid to cut material that does not add value.
- Match the length of your speech to your allotted time. For a 5-7 minute speech i will typically deliver 900-1000 words.
- A good opening is critical but don’t forget to finish strongly.
- It is important that you avoid the use of Jargon, especially terms which are unfamiliar to your audience
If you enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy An Evolutionary Approach to Overcoming the fear of Public Speaking
This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my current employer.