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“Get to the Point!” You have probably been in at least one business meeting or presentation and screamed that – inside your head, hopefully  – to the person speaking.

Without proper preparation, most people have a tendency to ramble and not make their intended points in a way that resonates – or is understood – by their audience. Obviously, in order to make your points understood by your audience, you must first create the points yourself.

As always in preparation, I urge you to: write it down!

First, grab a stack of  Post-it notes.

post-it

There are plenty of uses for those ubiquitous little squares.  When I was researching this article, I came across this:

post it wall

And this:

All I can say is "wow"

All I can say is “wow”

Fortunately, for today, you only need 14 Post-its, in whatever color or colors you like.  Place them on your desk, your table, whatever your work space – like this:

Main Theme – Intro

Key Point Supporting Story Supportive Point Benefit to Audience
Key Point Supporting Story Supportive Point Benefit to Audience
Key Point Supporting Story Supportive Point Benefit to Audience

Closing – Theme Summary – Benefit – Call to Action

Starting from the top, write down the overarching message you want your audience to receive.  You have already, at this point, considered their point of view, during your AIM exercise, right? I wrote about that yesterday, if you need a quick refresher.

Next, from left to right, jot down each of your three main points that support your overall theme and message.  Next two in each row are the supporting information to illustrate each key point.  The fourth “benefit” sticker at the end of the row explains the “so-what” of each point to the audience.  There better be a “so-what.”

Finally, write down your main them again on the last Post-it.  This reminds you to remind your audience why they were sitting there. Your wrap-up is a bit of repetition of the main theme combined with a thoughtful supportive story and finally that all-important benefit to the audience. Lastly, the Call-To-Action.  Always leave something for the audience to look forward to doing.  The “next steps,” if you will.

That’s it.  Without preparing your points-road-map first, you will get lost and your audience won’t stand a chance.  Give this outline grid a try.

Any questions? Let me know! I am more than happy to help you make your next presentation your best yet.

Baci, Gina

Tomorrow, I’ll zero in on the power of point supportive story-telling.  Compelling stories are a sure-fire way to make sure your points, like your Post-it notes, really stick with your listeners.

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