If you want to persuade an audience, start by picking the right organizational structure. Strive to present your ideas in a tidy, easy-to-understand manner.
Here are two of the most effective ways to organize your content:
The layer approach. Begin by establishing your credibility to address the topic at hand. Highlight key aspects of your background, especially any relevant experience that your listeners may not know about. Example: Cite the number of years you’ve researched the subject matter or your encounters with influential thought leaders.
From there, explain what has led you to make this persuasive pitch. What data jumps out at you? What motivates you to plead your case?
Close by summarizing your core idea—what you want the audience to take away from your presentation. It should flow directly from your earlier comments.
The column approach. Start by stating your goal—what you want people to think or do as a result of your pitch. Then line up the three or four most compelling points to uphold your argument.
If you’re outlining your remarks ahead of time, create columns for each of your supporting categories. Identify facts, evidence and other information to flesh out each point and make it as convincing as possible.
Each of these persuasive strategies works well to break down listeners’ resistance to your message. They’re less apt to rebut your points if you package them effectively and apply a logical flow that makes the most sense.
— Adapted from The Elegant Pitch, Mike Figliuolo, Career Press.