Announce your topic define any key term and state your bottom line

My first suggestion is to let members of your audience know the destination for their "trip." To do that, you'll need to announce your topic, define unfamiliar terms in it, and state your bottom line up front.

Announce your topic

Announcing your topic is simple: just say what you're going to talk about. You don't have to make the topic the first words out of your mouth. You might want to say a few polite sentences first—what linguists call polite noise: "Thank you, Liz, for ..." And a little humor up front lets groups settle in and become willing to listen. But don't wait long.

To announce your topic, simply say something like:

• My purpose is to tell you how our company is doing financially.

• I'm here to talk about the promotion system for our junior staff.

• This afternoon I'm going to suggest a way to improve the quality of our proposals.

Those are so straightforward, aren't they?—clean, simple, efficient starts. The audience should begin to relax, just knowing that you actually have a clear purpose and are able to articulate it.

Define unfamiliar terms in your topic

Sometimes the topic isn't so straightforward. There may be a term in it, a necessary one, that's unfamiliar to your audience.

Here are some examples:

• Today, I'll explain the value of type amendment.

• I'm going to demonstrate a new model of unit strength and cohesion.

• I'll suggest that fractals can describe the behavior of two companies competing with each other.

If the topic itself has unfamiliar words in it, your audience needs to understand them immediately. Yet you've probably seen speakers go into the advantages of something like "type amendment" before defining it.

So right after you announce your topic, define any unfamiliar words in it. For example, you could explain that type amendment means "changing the shapes of letters to make them visually interesting or memorable."

But that still doesn't really communicate, does it?

What the audience needs now is a quick example: "Let me give you an example. In the words 'Coca-Cola,' each capital C has a unique shape—extending into a long, curvy line. That's one example of type amendment. The shape of the letter C is changed to make it visually interesting— and memorable."

Even better, use a visual aid:

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