How to Organize the Talking Points of Your Live or Virtual Presentation

Whether presenting virtually or before a live audience, speakers should not leave their talking points to chance.

Gone are the days of the old three-points-and-a-poem speech-writing formula. There are countless ways to format the body of your presentation. I will list a few easy-to-organize methods and reveal my favorite approach at the end. Use any one of these to wow the people in your next virtual meeting.

Simple numeric approach

This one is easy, especially if asked to give an impromptu presentation with only a few minutes to collect your thoughts. This approach makes titling your presentation a no-brainer as well:

“Seven Steps to Speaking Success”

“Top Three Technical Writing Techniques”

“Five Cadences for our Organization in the New Year”

Odd numbers seem to resonate with listeners, yet I would strive to limit the number to seven and below. Very few people want to sit down and suddenly hear they’re going to learn about “19 Methods for Developing Leaders.”


Sandwich your main point between two memorable stories, and people will walk out of your meeting much more likely to remember what you said. People may not remember your main point, but if they can remember the story, that will trigger memory of the point supported by the story.

Acrostic method

This one is as easy as ABC. Here’s an example from my proofreading class:

S          Spell check

T         Tag team

A         Approach line by line

R         Read out loud

T         Take a break

Goals and actions

Consider this format for speaking up at team meetings, strategic planning sessions, project management meetings, and even when you are charged with presenting your idea to a group of key decision-makers. Simply explain the goal and walk the audience through the step-by-step action plan to achieve it.

Chronological order

Use a timeline to anchor your main points.

My favorite: One point only

If your audience leaves with only one key message, what would it be in one sentence? Realistically speaking, your audience won’t remember all five points of your speech—or even three points for that matter. But if you can drill down your message to one key take-away and reinforce it with stories, statistics, testimonials, and visual aids, you enhance the audience’s retention of the message. I strive to chisel out one main point and then support it at least three ways.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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Photo by Dan Azzopardi on Unsplash