It was a beautiful sunny day in the mountains. Together with my little man Álvaro and his school buddy Jordi, I joined a friendship hike of the Rotary club of my special Rose. We, a group of three dozens of humanitarian freaks, went for an excursion in Montseny, the spectacular mountain range 30 miles in the north of Barcelona. There, we melted into nature.
When you go on a hike, don’t you automatically follow those signposts? I refer to those signposts that tell you, “5 miles to Mount Eagle” or “3.5 miles to Fountain Fairfax” or “2 miles to Trump Hell”.
Signposts give you an indication where to go. Thanks to them you don’t have a feeling of getting lost.
When you give speeches or presentations with slides, you can benefit from the same concept. You can use structural signposts.
I use structural signposts all the time. For example, I talk about the four dimensions of our voice or about Aristotle’s seven golden rules of storytelling or three benefits of this or two reasons for that. Whatever content you signpost in your speech, at the end of your opening it is indispensable.
Imagine you want to persuade your audience to start with meditation. You could start your speech saying,
I was stressed. I was stressed all the time. Do you know this feeling of stress near your bellybutton? I felt it a lot. Then, one day it all changed. I participated in a training that meant a before and an after in my life.
Be more mindful, start to meditate. There are three healthy reasons why you want to start with meditation. …
Three healthy reasons – that’s the signpost.
From that moment, your audience knows about the structure of your speech. Clarity goes up; it helps them to follow your flow of arguments more easily. It also helps you, the speaker, to stick to your structure more easily.
Next time you go on a hike, check out those signposts and reflect on your everyday communication. You’ll find great spots to plant signposts.