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Tips to PREP for effective communication

4th June 2018 | Beverly Landais

Why is it that we can always think of a better way to say something after the moment has passed? Whether it is a planned presentation, anticipated conversation or impromptu speech, there are times when words fail us, and our communication misses the mark. This experience can undermine self-confidence and diminish our ability to influence events. It can also lead us to avoid situations where we might speak-up which can be severely self-limiting.

Prevent this from being your fate by learning how to structure your speech so that you can get your point across with conviction and panache. The next time you have an important message to get across try using the PREP framework to structure your speech. PREP stands for Point, Reason, Example, Point. This method is recommended by ToastMasters International as probably the easiest one to learn and use.

Start by writing a short description of the topic. Follow this with the ideal impact you desire and finally the outcome you wish to achieve through communication. Keep this under 100 words. Then write the opening of what you want to say by asserting a point. In the body of the topic, you outline reasons for stating this point and illustrate with examples. Your conclusion restates the position you first made like so:

Point – Establish the topic and begin your communication with your main point about this. Focus on one core idea about this, so it is simpler for your audience to follow and comprehend.

Reasons –Back up your point with evidence. For example, use research and statistics to add credibility if you have these to hand.

Example – Provide examples of evidence to support your main point and your reasons for putting this forward. Use data to help your case if appropriate.

Point – Wrap up by reiterating your main point so that it sticks in people’s minds. Don’t forget the ‘call to action’ – what you want to achieve because of the communication.

Here is a worked example as suggested by ToastMasters International:

“Malta is a wonderful holiday destination (point). It is a country drenched in history and offers an abundance of activities for travellers (reason). Churches date back to St Paul’s era, catacombs and air raid shelters date back to the second world war, Bastions date back to St Johns Knights. You could dive into one of the many wrecks or take a dip in one of the many beautiful inlets and bays (examples). Of course, these are just some of the things Malta has to offer; it is a wonderful holiday destination (point)”.

When you use PREP, your communication is crisp, clear and impactful because it has a sensible structure that your audience can quickly follow. This approach allows you to concentrate on the content and delivery, rather than worry about the order.

You can use the framework for short-notice speeches as well as for day to day communication in the workplace. It is deceptively simple yet an incredibly useful method of structuring key messages.  Remember all it takes is a little prep!

4th June 2018 | Beverly Landais

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