Make Them Wait
1. Tell your audience what you are going to tell them.
2. Tell them.
3. Then tell them what you told them.
Sound familiar? It’s the classic speech structure. But does it always work?
There was a terrific op-ed in this week’s NYT Week in Review: A Simple Way to Create Suspense, by Lee Child.
Lee explains that authors are too busy trying to work in the ingredients of a suspense plot – that they forget the most important part – make the reader wait.
If you want to create suspense in your presentation – if you want the audience to be sitting at the edge of their seats waiting to hear what you have to say – then that class speech structure needs to be altered.
How about instead…
1. Present them with a question or problem.
2. Let them know the process you will go through to try to the discover the answer.
3. Make them wait until the end for the answer.
From the Green Room: Don’t give away your punchline at the beginning of the speech! Rather, take the audience on a journey – and make them wait to see see the final destination.
Note: This does not mean that you are free to ramble. The purpose and plan for the journey must always be clear, or the audience will get lost. But purposefully keep them in suspense until the end.