Effective Presentations

Transform your jumbled ideas into a persuasive and powerful presentation.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read

Point, Example, Point = PEP

That means you make a point, you support it by example, and then you make the point again to reinforce the idea. When I say example, I am using the term very broadly. Examples could include personal stories, news stories, statistical evidence, research conclusions, expert testimony, personal testimony, analogies, photographs, or even a quote.

So with eight minutes you could make the point in a minute or so, tell a six minute story, then make the point again in slightly less than a minute. Or, you could break the supporting point into two subpoints, each with a shorter form of support (perhaps 3 minutes of statistical evidence and two or three minutes using an analogy).

Pathos, Logos, and Ethos Are All Important

When I was working with Henry I noticed that he relied heavily on one form of support only--appeals to emotion (or pathos). His examples were mostly personal stories of emotional events using vivid, concrete language. His speech was motivational, so this was a good start, but I reminded him that in order to reach everyone in the audience he also needed to consider including at least one appeal to logic (logos or factual data, such as statistics, quotations, or citations from experts). Every presentation needs to appeal to both the heart and mind of your audience. The balance between the heart and mind depends on your audience and the type of presentation you are making.

Language Choice and Audience Interaction

Once he had fully developed the main body of the presentation, it was time to talk about language choice and audience interaction. I suggested a few changes to how he might talk about some of his ideas to make the language more consistent with what the audience may already be familiar with. In addition, we developed a quick activity that would get the audience up on their feet and involved in the topic.

Starting and Ending with Pizzazz

Finally, we talked about how to effectively start and end the presentation. Together, we developed an analogy that was both interesting and tied directly to the overall theme. It was an analogy that anyone could relate to and it nicely introduced the supporting points. It was also easy to adapt that analogy for both the attention-getting opening and for the final residual message.

Within an hour we had transformed his jumbled pile of ideas into an organized presentation. My final parting advice was to ask two or three people to give him feedback on his speech. I told him to ask for three specific things that went well and three specific things he could do better next time.


After hanging up with Henry, I wondered how he would do. He had only an hour or so before he was going to deliver the presentation. Believe it or not, this was the most he’s ever prepared for a presentation.

The next morning he called to let me know how it went. He received some valuable comments. I could hear in his voice that he was finally convinced that preparation ahead of time was absolutely necessary. I’m not sure if it was the positive comments that convinced him or the constructive feedback. Either way, I was glad to hear he may no longer be the king of procrastination.

Sometimes organizing your thoughts and ideas seems overwhelming and time consuming, but if you follow this simple process you can quickly transform a jumble of ideas to a powerful, effective presentation. Henry, if you’re listening, next time, I’m hopeful you’ll earn at least a B+ on your outline and an A+ for the delivery!

This is Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.

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Presentation image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.