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Finding the Focus

 

Techniques Public speaking > Preparing the Presentation > Finding the Focus

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

At the start of preparing your speech or presentation, identify the key messages that you want your audience to understand and accept.

Start with a general topic and then narrow it down, based on the needs, interests and knowledge of your audience.

Consider the purpose of your presentation, in particular consider whether you want to entertain, inform or persuade your audience. Also consider why they should listen and how they will benefit from doing so.

Write a short sentence that encompasses the topic and purpose, start with the purpose, such as 'to explain', 'to persuade', etc. Include the benefit. Keep this brief and containing one key focus. Avoid vagueness or generalities.

Check the focus statement to ensure that it is also benefits you and is feasible within the given time. It should fit your audience,

Example

In preparing a presentation on changing minds I start with the broad topic of 'persuasion' but then, after understanding my audience's needs, narrow it down to 'selling an idea' and then 'to sell a profitable product idea to the board'.

Discussion

Two of the key reasons that presentations fail is because the speaker either (a) tries to make too many points, or (b) has no clear focus and just rambles on about minor topics. (a) can come from over-preparation (but without finding a focus) and (b) from under-preparation.

Given the focus, you can now develop the presentation. Always keep checking back that you are staying on focus and that everything you are going to say is in support of this.

See also

Statement of Benefits, Thesis Statement

 

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