What happens after you are finished speaking? How do you make sure your conclusion leads to the intended action? How can you be certain you have reached the set goal for your presentation?
In France, we extensively use this proverb when describing the exciting world of politics: “The end justifies any means”. This quote is from Nicolas Machiavelli, famous Italian thinker of the Renaissance. It means that you are ready to use all legal and illegal means at your disposal to reach your goal.
Machiavelli developed this idea to describe the political framework by whatever means used is justified in reaching the goal. How modern and accurate he still is! The French presidential elections are in May this year and some dirt is already being dug up on some candidates. To reinforce the point, let’s refer to last year US election when a plethora of stabs in the back and disclosed scandals were used in order to put the other candidate out of the running.
Machiavelli is a genius in the art of manipulation; his thoughts are still extremely accurate.
Now let’s use this idea, and transpose it to your speech or your next presentation. Stay with me, I guarantee you it will all be legal and not manipulative.
If in politics your goal is to win an election by influencing your voters to take action and select the right candidate on the day of the election, the framework is the same when you speak publicly: You need to use all possible weapons at your disposal to influence your audience. By weapons I am referring of course to the Public speaking tools: great message, rhetoric and delivery techniques.
Your goal is your message
Your voters are the audience
Your name on the ballot paper is the direct result of the influence you have over your audience in leading them to action
Your speech structure must lead to the final action as if there was naturally no other valuable option but yours.
How do you start then?
Easy! First have a very clear message, then start your presentation with the end goal in mind. Write down what is it you want your audience to do when you stop talking.
It will help you to focus on the essential items you need to develop, support your message and end with a clear call to action.
See, nothing Machiavellic about this piece of advice, by starting your speech with your end goal, you are not being unscrupulous, it will only successfully lead you to convey your message effectively and be clear about what is it you want to give to the audience and what you want them to do.