Use an 'Inverted Triangle' in Your Introduction

Jan 20


Ron Sathoff

Ron Sathoff

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When I was teaching public ... one of the ... I heard from my students was, "I don't know how ... This is a problem that goes well beyond ... however. Many of


When I was teaching public speaking,Use an 'Inverted Triangle' in Your Introduction Articles one of the biggest
complaints I heard from my students was, "I don't know how to
start!" This is a problem that goes well beyond classroom
speeches, however. Many of the questions I get from business
speakers are also about introductions: Should I use a joke?
Should I just state my position right away? How do I get the
audience's attention?

One tool that I have found to be very useful when trying to write
an introduction is called the "Inverted Triangle." This concept
is used mainly in journalism, but it works great for speech
introductions as well. When writing your introduction, visualize
it as a triangle with its widest part at the top and the point at
the bottom.

This triangle represents how specific your information is at any
given time in your introduction. The wide part at the top
represents fairly general information, and, as the triangle
becomes narrower, the information becomes more specific. In
essence, the inverted triangle is just a way to remember that you
should go from the general to the specific in your introduction.

I've found that the best way to put this into practice is to
start off by talking about some general issue or problem. Then, I
try to apply it more specifically to the audience that I am
talking to. Then I become even more specific by advocating a
particular plan or solution.

As an example, if you were giving a presentation on your business
opportunity, you might begin by talking about the economy
(general), and how hard it is for some people to make ends meet
(a little more specific). Then, you would discuss how nice it
would be for your audience to have some extra money to pay bills
or buy that luxury item they've always wanted (more specific).
Then, finally, you would introduce your opportunity as a way that
they could accomplish this (even more specific).

As you can see, this format is a nice way of leading into a
subject. By using the triangle, you can "ease" your way into
making your main point at the end of the introduction. The
inverted triangle certainly isn't the only way to structure an
introduction, but it is very helpful when an introduction doesn't
spring instantly to mind.

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