I have a pet peeve about any type of formal communication. If I don’t know where we’re trying to get to by the end of it, I have trouble focusing on what you’re saying. It might just be me. And it might just be people with brains wired like mine. But I know I listen much more deeply when I know where you’re going with your points. And that leads me to talk about the importance of structure in communication.
Even the most basic conversations between two colleagues or team members are more productive when there is an outcome or direction. Otherwise, we meander. It’s a human tendency in my experience. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” An early mentor, Greg Galluzzo was fond of saying that. In a presentation, it’s even more critical to have structure.
For you, the presenter
You need structure as the person doing the talking because it informs how you will address the information you’re sharing. It’s your speaking roadmap. Without it, it’s very easy to get lost, wander off the main track, and go down the wrong road.
A good framework gives you freedom. It builds confidence. It helps you work out where you’re starting and where you want to go. Then it helps you figure out how to get there.
For your audience
Anyone listening or engaging with you will appreciate knowing where you’re taking them. Introducing your structure, AKA key points, at the beginning of your presentation helps your audience know what to expect. Then they can relax, settle in, and listen more attentively.
If they don’t know what to expect, they may tune out, not really knowing the point. They may get frustrated, unclear about what you’re trying to say. They may begin throwing questions at you that take you far away from your main points.
Structure helps everyone stick together through a presentation of any kind. If we all know where we’re going, we’re much more likely to get there. Together.