There’s a common
three-part structure that says:
(1) Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em
(2) Tell what you gotta tell ‘em
‘em what you told ‘em.
On the surface, this is an
adequate way to put a program together; it reminds me of how
we were taught in school to write an opening, three
paragraphs, and a summary.
For speakers, though, I think this
formula can be a little dull and actually more
difficult as we try not to repeat ourselves!
I call the structure that I have been
recommending to my coaching clients the Milo Four-Step
It is fun to create, interesting to hear, and sets the stage
for you to be as organized as you’d like.
Capture. Open with a story
that you will relate to the material to come. It should be
inherently interesting, even if not immediately obvious why
it connects to the topic of the day.
Provide a few sentences that make it clear what the
connection is between your story and your main topic. If
your story ends with a lesson learned (either positively
or by seeing what went wrong), you may find it easier to
write your transition.
Body. This is the meat of
your presentation. Now that you’ve gotten them interested
and shown what you’ll be talking about, present what they’ve
come to learn.
Capper. It’s my belief
that if you’ve done the “Body” well, there’s no reason to
“tell ‘em what you’ve told ‘em.” Instead, leave them with a
final though or story that ties nicely to what you’ve said,
inspiring them or supporting your material
Then end on a simple “thank you” − even
if you’re the boss. This makes it clear you are
complete and shows you valued their time. Toastmasters
says that you should not say thank-you because they should
be thanking YOU. I disagree. I think
appreciating each other and acknowledging it creates good
This structure works well to frame the
overall presentation and in many cases just knowing which
piece you are working on can “unstuck” you from the feeling
that you don’t know where to begin. That being said, I
realize that section three is still a big section to tackle
and organize. Next issue, I'll field a question that is
specific to organizing the “body”.