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How to Make Your Points Stick

Learn how to make more interesting and credible presentations using Lisa’s PEP model.

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
January 8, 2010

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Do you want your speeches to be more interesting and credible? Up next, learn how to make your presentations more powerful by using PEP. 

Make Your Points Stick with PEP (Point, Evidence, Point)

Yes, today's episode is about PEP ... but not the kind of pep you get from drinking coffee or one of those new energy drinks. Instead, I'm talking about my model that teaches speakers how to support their ideas--a model that, when followed, makes your points more interesting and credible. I call the model PEP, because it short for point, evidence, point (PEP). I first discussed it in my episode about thinking on your feet.

The idea is that whenever you make a point, you should also always provide specific support or evidence for that point. Then make the point again, but use slightly different words. A common rookie mistake is to just make a general point without the specific supporting evidence and reinforcement.

For example, the statement “Obesity is a serious problem in the United States,” is just a general claim that might lead the listener to think, “Well, what do you mean obesity is a serious problem? Why should I believe you anyway?”

An Example of Making Your Point with PEP

However, if you follow the PEP model you would say, “Obesity is a serious problem in the United States (Point). Obesity is associated with over 100,000 deaths per year (Evidence). The National Institutes of Health reported that about two-thirds of U.S. adults are obese (Point). ” By providing the specific example and reinforcement of the point, it makes your claim much stronger, more interesting, and more credible. 

In this case, the example that I used was a statistic (100,000 deaths per year due to obesity). Notice that I also that I snuck in another form of evidence--expert testimony--which reinforced the point. I didn’t just say that two-thirds of adults are obese; I referred to the expertise of the National Institutes of Health.

Make Your Point with an Appeal to Logic, Emotion, & Character

The way you appeal to logic, emotion, and character is through various forms of evidence.

In general, statistics tend to appeal to listeners who prefer to rely on logic, facts, and evidence. However, long ago, Aristotle pointed out that we often need more than just appeals to logic. We also need appeals to emotion and appeals to character.

So let’s say your goal is to get funding for an onsite fitness center. You might try to instill fear by saying, “Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature heart attacks.” With that example, you’d kill two birds with one stone—it’s an appeal that is both emotional and logical.

The appeal to character is more subtle. It attempts to persuade listeners based on virtue or ethics. Keeping with this same example, you might talk about how a fitness center would help reduce stress, which benefits the well-being of the entire organization.

The way you appeal to logic, emotion, and character is through various forms of evidence: statistics, analogies, stories, questions,  quotations…

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