5 points how structure can boost your confidence I find that one of the most important aspects of any presentation or speech is to have a clear structure. If you know:
> exactly what you are talking about
> when to say what
> which visual aid to show and
> how much time it all takes
you will feel so much more confident than when you are unclear about those things. This is why I will give you a guide to help you structure any intervention, presentation, speech or discussion.
1. Audience Analysis
It is very important to know who is in front of you, so start with that. When you know something about your audience you can feel more confident about your presentation. If you are not sure who they are, what they know or what motivates them to listen to you, it will show in the way you present your topic. You might incorporate a few question marks in the way you speak and come off a little more unsure than necessary. → Action: Ask yourself before your next presentation: Who is my audience? What do they already know? What do they want to know? What are they expecting from me? What will they gain from listening to my presentation? If you cannot answer these questions, see if you can find out (ask someone, send a questionnaire to the participants, etc. )
2. Introduction I assume you know this one already. You need a good introduction in order to give your audience a chance to get into the topic. It's is a good moment to give an overview of what's to come. You can also incorporate some rhetorical questions, people can think about during your presentation. It is always good to also already say what the point of your presentation is and what you want people to leave the room with at the end. This way your audience knows what your intentions are and you will seem much more confident by expressing them in the beginning. → Action: Prepare a good introduction, already thinking about what you want people to know at the end. Also mention the structure of your presentation: content, duration and when people can pose questions. This way people are more likely to actively participate and pay attention to your speech.
3. Rule of 3 There is a basic principle in communication that is called “rule of three”. It is used in writing and poetry, but also in advertising, film and photography. Cesar used it with "Veni, vidi, vici", Shakespeare used it with "Romeo Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo" and Apple used it to describe the new Macbook with "thin. light. powerful." This rule creates symmetry that is very appealing to our ears. → Action: Practice structuring content into 3 parts. You can structure anything like this: an intervention during a discussion, a phone call, a speech or your next presentation. Having this structure in place will help you and your audience focus on the most important aspects. This way you will be perceived as confident, efficient and straight to the point (see what I'm doing?)
4. Summary At the end of a presentation summarize the most important points that you stressed. It's great if you have pointed the same ones out at the beginning of your presentation (!), when you were introducing your topic. If you manage to open and close your speech with what you intended to, you will come off as amazingly competent. It's as if you are figuratively closing the circle. This is a very satisfying feeling for you and your audience. → Action: Prepare a good summary of your topic at the end of your presentation. Make sure you summarize the most important points and maybe already give an incentive for possible questions. Thank the audience for listening and give them some reference where to find some more in-depth information on the topic.
5. Time for questions It is very important that you manage questions in a way that they don't disturb the flow of your presentation. So always make time and space for questions at the end of your presentation. If you just let people ask questions whenever they want to, you will lose the flow of your presentation and people will be confused about the structure. Also the timing might go out of hand, as some people like to intervene for a long time. → Action: Mention in the beginning that there will be time for questions at the end of your presentation. If your presentation is very long and people are likely to need clarification along the way, give room for questions after each (of your 3!) points. You can also prepare some questions for your audience if nobody participates at the end. This will help them engage more easily.
I hope these tips were useful! How do you feel about structuring your presentations? Is it difficult for you? Or is it super easy?
If you would like to improve your public speaking skills - go ahead and download my free guide called "Sensational Public Speaking. 5 Energizing Ways to Rock your next Presentation."