5W and 1H is a conceptual approach to understand, gather information and define a problem during the problem-solving process. Let’s review them individually to understand what it means in Public Speaking.
There are many questions a presentation, or a presenter should answer to be able to attract audience attention, make a good connection and provide essential pieces of information that an audience expects to receive from you.
These questions are the classic five Ws and an H:
Who is your target audience? What would they like to know about your topic? 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. Your audience will feel like you are speaking directly to them, understanding their needs, and it will allow you to get full attention.
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; it could be buying the product, choosing your services or yourself over other candidates, sign up for a class or simply eagerly implementing the ideas and learnings in the workplace.
Where is the problem? Where is the solution? Where can your audience find the help they need?
“Where” signifies direction, it leads your audience somewhere in your presentation. The question you need to answer; “where would you like to take them?” Some of the common “where” statements include “in the hospitality industry today”, “in our hotels across the region.”
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 improve people’s lives somehow and to hone 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?
“How?” is the learning and teaching portion of your message. You may consider this the “how-to” section and giving the people guidance to improve their lives. This section often incorporates steps to follow.
Presentations and speeches should not be complicated, keep it simple and to the point. Therefore, there are still many questions, and if you manage to add “What Else?” to explore and expand, you will be able to cover all angles.