While much talk is given about the delivery of the speech or presentation and the controlling of nervousness, often what is lacking is how to begin the creation of your material. Where do you start? Let’s assume that you have your topic. Your 1st step is to select your general purpose which is either to inform or to persuade. (The 3rd option is to entertain; however, that is an article in itself.)
Simply put, if you are describing your trip to India to a travel group, you are giving an informative presentation. If you are trying to sell tickets to the travel group for a tour of India, it is a persuasive presentation, which will include informative material as well.
Your next step is then to differentiate between your specific purpose and your central idea. These two points are essential if you want a well-organized and well-planned speech.
For the specific purpose, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish?
- Informative: To describe my trip to India.
- Persuasive: To persuade my audience to accompany me on a trip to India.
The specific purpose is indeed quite general. When you are thinking about it, look at it from the point of view of your goal. Are you describing or are you selling? Keep in mind that selling does not necessarily mean a product. It could be a belief or an idea.
Your final step in solidifying what you plan to say is your central idea. It should be only one sentence in which you lay out the major points you plan to cover. If you are giving an informative presentation, your major points could be a very long list. If such is the case, it is best to stick between 2 and 5 major points.
- Informative: To describe the geography, culture, and cities of India.
- Persuasive: To persuade my audience that touring India is an exciting adventure and a great value as well.
Once you have your central idea solidified, you can then outline what you plan to say in your development which is the heart or meat of your presentation. This is where you will cover your major points. If you want to talk about the food of India, for example, you would include that as a subtopic in your major point on culture. Dress, religion, and politics would also be subtopics under your culture topic.
Good presentation skills include knowing your specific purpose and your central idea. Having accomplished that, you will be surprised at how much easier it is to create your presentation then if you haphazardly write down a list of things to say.