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Build Off of The “Aristotelian Triptych" for Effective Presentation Organization


When preparing presentations, the majority of clients do not struggle with content. Instead, they often need structure (including the “Where do I begin?”) to organize and refine their message.


The foundation for most organizational techniques for presentations is rooted from the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who taught the “triptych” approach.


The Aristotelian “triptych” is the following three-point structure:

1. Tell them what you are going to tell them

2. Tell them

3. Tell them what you told them


Undoubtedly this ancient structure is quite familiar to many public speakers because it has been proselytized and adopted by many coaches, trainers and speaking organizations over the years.

To me, however, the Aristotelian triptych is a great starting point, but it is not enough. There are two missing elements -- A benefit statement, and an action statement.


Benefit Statement:Listeners need to know why they should listen to the speaker. Listening is the hardest skill to master in the communication domain. In order to gain and hold their listener’s attention, speakers needs to provide a clear and specific benefit statement after they tell them what they are going to tell them. What are the listeners going to gain by paying attention?


Action Statement:Listeners also need to know what the speaker wants them to do with the information that was just delivered to them. Often listeners will think to themselves, “This is great information, but now what?” Whether it be the implementation of a product, initiating a vote, calling a meeting or simply reaching out to the speaker for questions, it is the speakers job to tell their listeners what action to take.

TheFive-Point Structure for Organizing Presentationsbelow builds off of the Aristotelian Triptych, and adds customization elements that the Triptych lacks:


1. Introduction: Tell them what you are going to tell them (Triptych)

2. Benefit Statement: Why should they listen?

3. Body:Tell them (Triptych)

4. Conclusion: Tell them what you told them (Triptych)

5. Action Statement:What do you want the listeners to do with the information?


The five-point structure is flexible because it can be utilized for a 30-second update or a 40-minute presentation. It is easy to apply to any topic, and also it delivers a logical structure for the listener to absorb. Therefore, It provides speakers great “scaffolding” for an impactful presentations.

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