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Techniques Public speaking > Preparing the Presentation > STOIC

Subject | Topic | Outcome | Introduction | Conclusion | See also


Planning a presentation or speech can be difficult, particularly if you are starting with a relatively blank sheet. What will you talk about? How will you make it work?

Sometimes the hardest part is in the initial decision of what to talk about. 'STOIC' is a simple thinking framework to help get you on your way. After completing your STOIC thinking, you will be ready to work on the main detail of your presentation.


The subject is the broad area that encompasses what you might talk about, such as 'medicine', 'mining equipment' or 'garbage disposal'. It is likely a subject in which you have significant interest and knowledge, and is probably too big an area to cover in a single presentation, but at least it gives an initial focus.

Sometimes in conferences and other contexts the organizers will give you the subject. Sometimes you might discuss it. Whatever the situation, this gives you a starting point.


As the subject is too broad for a single presentation, you next need to focus it in on something that is both a coherent topic and which can be covered in the time allotted.

When deciding on the topic, things to consider include:

  • Areas of current interest or research for you, in which you can present with passion.
  • Topics which are in the news or are current in some way.
  • Topics that will be of particular interest to your audience.


Next bring the topic closer again to your audience by thinking about the outcomes of the presentation and what your audience will take away and what you will have achieved. This can be some combination of the following:

  • Informing: Presentation of simple facts and information.
  • Persuading: Changing minds in some way.
  • Enabling: Giving them some skill, enabling them to act in a new way.
  • Entertaining: Will it be fun or serious? How will you keep their attention?


The introduction to a talk is very important as this is where the audience decides how much they need to attend to you. They want to know about the topic and the outcomes for them. Writing out the introduction in full can be a very useful exercise.


Think about how you will close well, so people leave feeling good about you. This will typically link back to the introduction showing how you have delivered what you promised.

As with the introduction, it can be a good idea to write out the conclusion, thinking about what the audience will also be concluding. Will they be impressed? What will they remember? What you say at the beginning and at the end will be of particular important for this.

See also



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