After the basic structure of the Three-Point Talk is created, you can add more impact to your presentation by adding analogies, demonstrations, samples, anecdotes, or other pieces of showmanship. In a previous article titled How to Design a Presentation Quickly, we covered how to use a simple Three-Point Talk structure to design a skeleton of a presentation, and in that article, we actually used the structure of a Three-Point Talk to explain how to write the Three-Point Talk. So now, let’s add a few impact ideas to the previous article to see if we can make it even more relatable and compelling.
To deliver a great Three-Point Talk, you just have to remember three basic steps.
- Limit your topic to the three most important points.
- Develop compelling support for each point.
- Summarize the points to conclude.
Limit your Topic to Three Main Points
Remember, the human mind can only totally focus on one thing at a time. So, unless you can hone your talk into three points or less, your audience will have a tough time retaining your information. (Analogy) It is similar to driving down a busy highway. So much information is all around us, that it would be very difficult to store and memorize everything we see. But if someone gave us some simple directions with a few landmarks, those specific landmarks are easier to spot. By giving a brief introduction of what the three main points are, we are telling our audience what landmarks to pay attention to.
It’s okay to give additional information, but the more information outside of the scope of the three main points, the more diluted the message will be. This Three-Point process also helps the speaker create a clear and concise message for the audience. As we become more clear in our delivery, our audience becomes more clear about our topic as well. It is easy for the audience to follow our train of thought, and easier for them to stay focused on our topic. (Personal Example) In fact, three months ago, I had a company approach me to put together a program to help their executives and managers measure the work of their employees in order to develop their direct reports. In the beginning, I felt a little overwhelmed asking myself how could I create an impactful program on such a diverse topic. So, the first thing I did was to break down the topic into the three critical pieces of information that the audience would need to know to be more effective at measuring work. That structure made it much easier to formulate the workshop.
Develop Compelling Support for each Point
The second major key to a successful Three-Point Talk is to offer your audience some support to back up your three key points. Real-life examples, statistics, expert opinions, and other support material can add additional credibility to your message.
The personal stories that we have talked about in the last several chapters are excellent real-life examples that can be quite compelling. Everyone loves a story. Statistics can also be effective, but be careful. Dale Carnegie, in his book The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking, said, “Statistics of themselves are boring. They should be judiciously used and should be clothed in language that makes them vivid and graphic.” (Demonstration) For example, if your statistics showed that your manufacturing machinery has a 20% downtime, you might make the statistic more vivid by saying, “If I were to walk out of my office ten times per day to visit the floor, two of those ten time, I would find the machinery idle.”
The testimony of an expert can also add a great deal of deal of credibility to your message. According to Cordell & Cordell, PC, “as many as 50% of all court cases utilize an expert in some capacity. Furthermore, surveys of judges have demonstrated that judges regard expert testimony as very influential in their ultimate decision, particularly where the court appoints the expert.” If this type of support can influence a judge, it might be a great way to influence the people we are speaking to as well.
Finally, to ensure that our main points are remembered, it might be a good idea to end with a summary. The best and easiest way to end a Three-Point Talk is to just list the three key points one more time to refresh the memory of your audience.
So in summary, the three main steps to giving a great talk to inform are:
- Limit your topic to three main points
- Develop compelling support for each topic, and
- Summarize your main points in conclusion.
Notice how adding just a few additional impact items such as analogies, demonstrations, and examples can really clarify your information? So use the Three Point Talk (or Four Point Talk or even Five Point Talk) to design the initial structure of your presentation, and then use examples, analogies, demonstrations, and other types of showmanship to give your presentation more meat.