Presentation Structure: Chris Matthews plays hardball in six steps

Chris Matthews & Charles Greene III

Chris Matthews is at the top of that game of movers and shakers in Washington, DC.  Matthews is the well-known host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” host of “The Chris Matthews Show,” journalist, and political commentator.

Matthews is a feisty gentleman of the fourth estate who always brings high octane passion to his work.  Besides being heard and seen by millions of tv viewers each night, Chris Matthews is also read by millions.  He’s the author of five best-selling books.  In his latest “Life’s a Campaign,” Matthews presents his structure for giving a perfect speech.  In his chapter on public speaking “Speak Out” in “Life’s a Campaign” the Toastmaster alum, former congressional staffer, Presidential speech-writer lays out his six step speech system.

Chris Matthews states, “Being able to express yourself, to make your ideas not just listened to but heard, is important in just about every situation, from corporate meetings to family conclaves.  Nothing will make a job like easier – and less daunting – than to break it up into tasks.”

Chris Matthews’ Six Step Speech System:

1) Ice-beaker:  Give your audience a chance to know you.  Let them know that you are one of them.

2) Tease: Captivate their attention so that they’ll sit up and take notice.

3) Anecdotes: Bring stories that connect you with specific people, or the occasion for which all of you are gathered.  Sharing personal connections will lead to converting the audience into a community.

4) Download: Deliver your main message, point by point, in bite-sized tweetable bits.

5) Relief: Let them relax.  Tell them a light-hearted story that drives your message home.

6) Send-off: Give a clear restatement of your main message and leave them with a “wow.”  Then signal your finish and wait for the applause.

Chris Matthew states, “This six-step system is a wonder.  It works for me; it will work for you.”

My only suggestion on Chris’ steps is that you not wait until you are on stage to begin step one, the ice-breaker.  Chris can light up a dark room with his rock-star personality.  For us mortals, begin breaking the ice as soon as you walk through the door.  Go to the event early.  Be introduced or introduce yourself to as many people as possible.  Smile.  Fostering familiarity with your audience before you take the stage will allow you to begin your speech with a room of friendly faces who are primed and ready for step two, tease and captivate.

Learn more about Chris and his thoughts on public speaking by reading Chris Matthew’s Toastmaster International interview with Suzanne Fey.

Presentation structure examines the delivery framework used by successful speakers.  Choosing a proper speech structure is a key element of preparation, one of the “Three Magic Keys to a Successful Presentation.”  Not every structure will work in every situation.  The key is to examine as many structures as you can and then select the best one for your particular message and event.


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About Charles Greene III

Charles Greene III is a true Presentation Magician. Working with Fortune 500 companies, he’s a magical spokesperson who delivers product and marketing messages at conferences around the globe. Through his company Corporate Shuffle, Charles has presented at meetings in Bermuda, China, Egypt, France, Mexico, Monaco, Sweden, and, of course, the United States. His clients span a variety of industries and include 3M, Alcon, Coca-Cola, Clorox, Frito-Lay, Johnson & Johnson, Panasonic, and Wells Fargo. Charles’ public speaking and presentation workshops are engaging, educational, and empowering. With more than 25 years of experience as an international corporate spokesperson, Charles leads by example. He captivates attention as he delivers critical presentation skills. His workshops cover the core skills of public speaking as well as presentation techniques learned from decades of corporate presenting. Charles is a guest columnist for Presentation Magazine. He’s been featured in Discover, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Robb Report. When not for revealing the secrets of better public speaking, Charles spends time collecting vintage magic posters, stone lithographs of magicians from 1890 – 1930. To see some of his collection, visit He can also make a mean gumbo. Charles was born in Hackensack, NJ. He currently lives in the historic Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.
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