Communication Skills

JS Tip 157: From the Speaking Workshops: Separating Your Supporting Points

Listening to a speech is not like reading a text:  

A speech has no visible page breaks.

A speech has no visible paragraph breaks.

A speech has no visible headings.

So how do you identify—separate, mark, distinguish—your individual supporting points?

A Verbal Transition: Be obvious. Explain when you’re shifting from one point to the other: “That covers my first point. My second point is . . . .”

A Gesture: Hold up one finger to mark your first point. Hold up two fingers to mark your second point. Hold up three . . . . This doesn’t have to be for long. A few seconds. The visual supports the spoken.

A Physical Move: Finish your first point. Pause. Take three steps to your left. Pick up your presentation. “The next point I want to make is . . . .”

A PowerPoint Transition: Have an “outline” slide on which you show your title, your central idea, and your supporting points. When you move from one point to the other, bring this outline slide back with your next point highlighted (or the other points faded).

Separating your supporting points takes your speech from a messy glob of words to a structured, discrete presentation.

If you have questions, comments, or arguments, let us know. We’ve said this before: We love this stuff.