First read How to Structure a Speech or Presentation for an understanding of how to approach your speech or presentation structure.
Introduction – describe the issue or assignment, and why it’s important
If a progress report is a simple update about whatever you’re working on, your introduction provides a quick recap of what that is. Your hook (what gets everyone interested) should be one or two ideas about the effects your work will have. Introduce your call to action if you have one.
Act 1 – describe where you started, where you are now and the critical outstanding steps that will get you where you want to be
Your purpose here is to set the scene – first, explain why what you’re doing is important. Next, introduce the context you’ve been working in and the problems you’re trying to address.
Act 2 – prioritise problems and explain (options) how they’re being addressed
Now that we’ve set the scene, this is where things start happening. Explain the problems you’re addressing, and prioritise them. Talk about action – what you’ve been doing and what else you plan to do.
Act 3 – describe successes to date – positive progress made, remind them of the ‘big picture’
Why are you giving a progress report? Usually it’s to make sure everyone understands what you’re doing, why, and that they have confidence in your strategy. You’ve already explained the what and why, so instill confidence in your audience by explaining your progress so far.
First, talk about how far you are through implementing each strategy or action you outlined previously. Then discuss the outcomes you’ve seen so far, and the results you’re expecting to see (backed up by evidence).
Detail what else you plan to do, and what effects that will have.
Conclusion – Action Steps
Here, you can give a round-up of all three acts by showing how your actions and plans relate to the problems you outlined in Act 1. Follow this up with a message about the positive impacts you’ve seen so far.
Make sure you close with a clear statement about the steps which still need to be taken to achieve your goals.
5 More Speech Structures
To read more:
Our handy free publication ‘Six Speech Structures – the most common business presentations made easy’ gives you a breakdown of how to structure the six most common speeches in business.