The Dandelion Group

Technique of the week

Structuring your speech

‘Good points but a bit hard to follow.’ Not only participants of our debate nights get this feedback. If you think you have interesting content but could be clearer, use signpost language.

Signposting is a technique that divides your presentation into sections similar to a book. If you have ever read one of Terry Pratchett’s fantasy novels about the Discworld, you realised that a lack of chapters is challenging. We should not fall into the trap of speaking as he writes but guide the audience from the beginning to the end.

How to signpost

  1. Imagine your presentation is a book that lacks chapters. Group the information and write down a title for each part on a post-it. No title should be longer than two words.

  2. Try different orders before choosing the one that suits your key message and occasion best.
    (e.g. chronological, alphabetical, geographical, problem-solution, ranked by order of importance,…)

  3. Write down the titles of each chapter on one moderation card and announce them whenever you move to next chapter of your presentation.
    (e.g. Today, you will hear four reasons why charities should improve their marketing. The first one is … . […] The second one is … . […]. The third one is … . […] The final one is … . […] To recap, these are the four reasons why charities should improve their marketing.)

Exercise

South-Korean superstars BTS launched Generation Unlimited with UNICEF last month. Kim Nam Jum/RM gave an inspiring speech reading from a full transcript in his hand. Watch the speech and divide it into up to five chapters. You may change the order before summarising them on a moderation card.

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Ben WilhelmComment