The 5 Ws and an H of Public Speaking

questionsIn any presentation, there are basic pieces of information that an audience expects to receive from the presenter. You are the problem solver presenting a solution that will benefit your audience.

Even if you are just blessing the newlyweds at your best friend’s wedding, you still have questions that must be answered. These questions are the classic five Ws and an H: who, what, when, where, why and how. Read on to better understand what I mean.


Who is your target audience? What would they like to know about your topic? Do they have any preconceived notions about your material? What are their concerns? Are you addressing the “who” you targeted in your research?

When you address the “who” of your message, you are better able to relate with your audience. They will feel like you are speaking directly to them. They will give you their attention because they feel like their needs are being addressed.


What is the message you want to communicate? What are the issues? What are the solutions?

The “what” in your message is the backbone of your presentation. It is your purpose for speaking. It is also the reason why people come to hear you.


When should the audience take action? Is there a sense of urgency in your presentation?

Stressing the “when” aspect of your message is especially important when you want your audience to take action immediately following the presentation — for example sign up for a class, sell promotional materials, implement what was learned.


Where is the problem? Where is the solution? Where can your audience find the help they need?

“Where” signifies direction. This leads your audience somewhere in your presentation. Where would you like to take them? Common “where” statements include “across America today”, “in college campuses nationwide”, “in the construction industry” and “in families in California.”


Why should the audience take action? What are the motivating factors in prompting your audience to take action?

The main focus here is to inspire and motivate your audience to take action. Not only do you want them to listen to you, but you want your audience to take action on what you’ve said. You want to somehow improve their lives and honing your message on the “why” is a critical factor to accomplishing that goal.


How can they respond to your message? How can they take action based on what they’ve heard?

This is the learning and teaching portion of your message. This can be the “how-to” section telling them how they can easily improve their lives. This section often incorporates steps to follow.

There are still many more questions that your presentation should answer. As you piece all of these bits of information together, you’ll be giving your audience the detailed answers they are looking for. You also present yourself as the credible source of information you want to present yourself to be!

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About the author

Carma Spence, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Superpowers and turning their knowledge and interests into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

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