Master Your Message for Maximum Impact

Ordering Your Points Can Be Crucial

You’re at a point now in your presentation where you’ve defined your audience’s needs and wants and refined your objectives to satisfy them. In other words, you know what you’re going to tell them and are pretty confident you’ve structured the message in a logical manner so that they’ll understand your argument. You’ve written the opening, and the closing should be no problem, since it’s very much a copy of the opening. But what about the middle? How do you follow that terrific opening? How do you get to the closing without losing them?

Point structure within a presentation.Ah . . . the body. This is where you present the goods – the main points that support for your solution to their problem. These key points should also answer any potential audience concerns.

Begin by taking a hard look at your solution. Ask yourself what “truths,” or main points you’ll have to get your audience to agree to in order for them to buy into your solution. In other words, what strong points have you developed to answer their concerns? In Presenter-Pro, we call these key points “truths” because they also contain an audience-directed benefit – very important for audience buy-in.

Once you’ve developed your list of “truths,” or key points, it’s time to organize them properly – put them in the correct order. Start the process by thinking once more about your audience. Remember, these concerns are going to be foremost in their minds as they listen to you or read your presentation. As you think about the importance of your audience’s concerns, how you order your key points will become more obvious.

In fact, the “truths” you’ve identified in the body should be delivered in the order of importance to the audience – the most important first and the least important last.

Finally, for each of your key points, what “evidence” does your audience need that this truth is the one that they should believe in?

Example: You’ve proposed a video be developed to communicate to teenagers the importance of lifelong learning. One of your “truths” might be that “video will have the most impact and is therefore the most effective medium for communicating” to this audience group. Your evidence would be facts and figures on how much television teenagers watch as well as information from studies on the influence this medium has in other areas of their life.

There are exceptions to the rule of ordering your key points based on the importance to the audience. Sometimes, they need to flow chronologically or you may need to get approval on an initial point before other can be considered. However, you need to start somewhere and this rule will help you put your key points in some sort of perspective.

Follow this simple structure for the body of your presentation and you’ll hit your audience’s needs squarely on the head. You’ll get right to the point, get instant feedback and be very successful in just about any presentation you care to take on. Good luck!

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