The least successful strategy for preparing for a speech is to write a long text with complex sentences, and then memorize it in front of a mirror. The structure helps to build your speech up based on the meanings and emphasis that the audience will pick up.The structure answers the questions:
- What are the elements of speech?
- Why does it consist of these elements?
- Where are these elements located and why?
- How are they related?
- What will the listeners remember when they leave the conference/meetup etc.?
We at BEsmart
are evangelists of the pyramidal structure of speech. It was invented at McKinsey and adopted as a communication standard in many business sectors around the world.
The pyramid structure can be used for science-intensive defenses with huge chunks of code, inspiring speeches at meetings and in tête-à-tête interviews. This is a hierarchical structure, where all elements are built from the general to the particular, from the most important to the details.
The first thing you need to do to build the structure is to understand what you are going to convince the audience. The goal of a speech is never «to inform» because no one listens to a speaker to become a little more informed. People listen to you to solve their problems, to find out that your technology is the most effective one, to understand that you are suitable for working in their company. You should highlight your main idea.
The main idea breaks down into 2 or 4 ideas that support it — not more, so the pyramid remains stable and goes to the main conclusions that will prove the main idea.The second level is the level of ideas,
or criteria of proof. Two questions will help you find relevant ideas:
- What do I have to prove, so people agree with me?
- Will the evidence of these ideas be enough to make a decision?