In the previous unit, the introduction of a presentation or speech was covered. In this unit, we will continue with a sound structure of a presentation (speech or academic written assignment). From the introduction, you can naturally transition into the main part of your presentation, which consists of your main points. In academic writing, this main section is often referred to as the “body” of the essay. These main points contain two parts: explaining the main point and providing support.
The key to the first part is the explanation, and this largely falls on your shoulders. Giving clear, accurate, and engaging explanations is a skill that many public speakers constantly work on. Try to aim for 4-5 sentences that provide a clear picture of your main point. Many speakers make the mistake of rushing to the supporting sentences, thinking that the audience will not believe their argument until they see a graph, chart or statistic that provides undeniable proof. Take your time explaining as much as you need to in order to paint that vivid picture for your audience.
The second part is the support, and this can take many forms. Statistics, graphs, charts, and pictures can assist speakers and writers with strengthening their main point. When writing academic papers or giving academic presentations, it is important to consider the sources of your information. Technology has made it extremely easy to find information, but be sure that the website you get your information from is a legitimate source. Don’t rely too much on Wikipedia, as anyone can change the content on wiki pages!
As you can see from the flowchart below, the final part of the process is transitioning or changing smoothly into your next part. This can be easily accomplished by remembering this simple phrase: “Now that I have talked about ________ (First Main Point), I’m going to talk about __________ (Second Main Point).”
This flow chart is not a new concept, and has been used in academic writing for many years. The great part of this type of structure is that it can be applied to writing, but also speeches and presentations.
Choose a game that you played when you were a child, and describe the first part of the game (not the entire game) using the format above. For example, most people know the game “Paper, Scissors, Rock” (じゃんけん in Japanese), so try to explain the first part of the game (e.g., using hands to play, the different positions, and what beats what/what loses to what). Be sure to explain the part, provide an example to illustrate the part, and then transition into your next part.