Does your Structure need Improving? Here’s 7 Rules to Help

You’re preparing an important presentation for your company or business, and you’re excited, a bit nervous and scared as well.

You get down to work, collecting facts, analyzing statistics, getting quotes from experts, and gathering more information than you’ll ever require.

Now comes the hard part – creating content for your speech and slides.

How do you come up with a presentation that expresses your core message, makes it easy to follow, and resonates with your audience?

“A scene has to have a rhythm of its own, a structure of its own.” 

– Michelangelo Antonioni

Here are some storytelling and persuasive writing structures you may find helpful:

7 Helpful Writing Structures

1.If you’re unsure or lack time, the standard three-part structure used in short stories comes to your rescue. Let your story flow with an introduction to the topic, break your main message down into a series of scenarios, and end with a conclusion or call-to-action. 

2.Spatial – Arrange your information around this concept; how things are arranged and related to each other in physical space. If you want to explain about the benefits of a new software or app functionality, break it down into its main components – core features, general application and specific modules

3.Sequential – Use this storyline technique in company meetings or pitches to new clients. Arrange the content in a systematic sequence or according to a process. It makes what you have to say extremely easy to follow.

4.Chronological – This storytelling method works well for topics that are best understood through timelines. Arrange your content according to events. Start with first event and continue the chain with each succeeding event.

5.Climactic string – Create a series of short compelling stories on the same idea. This structure style adopts the list formula seen in blogs and online publications. The last-to-first approach works better in keeping the audience interested in your idea.

6.What – Why – How (Before – After – Bridge) – You present your idea to the audience first.

The ‘What’ refers to a problem (such as a product that is outperforming your own currently), or a benefit (such as decreased hair loss)

The ‘Why’ answers the audiences question on why they need a solution. In the second example above, the ‘Why’ would be ‘that they will end up bald’.

Finally, the ‘How’ is where you show them the way to reach their goal or get the right fix. Wrap it up with tangible proof from customer testimonials and/or statistics – for example, ‘the customers of our product experience 50% less reduction in hair over the course of their treatment’.

7.5 piece story – There’s a really great article you should check out from Copyblogger outlining a formula that works well for presentations. In short:

(i) Start with a hero – this refers to the audience, who transforms into something special as the story progresses.

(ii) Talk about their goal – an upgrade, makeover, or a new way of doing things.

(iii) Focus on the conflict – restrictions or obstacles.

(iv) Bring in the mentor – your company or service to help and guide them.

(v) End with a moral or key takeaway – future scenarios on what happens if they resist change or embrace it.

How do you plan to structure your presentation content? Is there a method that has worked for you?

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