Explaining the cause or effect of a specific process or concept can be daunting, so be sure you know the topic thoroughly. Moreover, be aware of your audience’s information needs so you can deliver the information they expect to help them understand a challenging or difficult topic.
To prepare a cause and effect presentation, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
1. Understand both causes and effects if possible. Even if you discuss one or the other, it helps to know both to understand their relationship. For example, if you plan to make a speech about the need for more commercial development in your community, and how such investments can help local, small-town merchants to prosper (the effects), first explain how the lack of investment has limited the sales revenue in this area. Your audience will be more likely to appreciate the main point of your speech that emphasizes effects if they can initially grasp the causes.
2. Use cause and effect to explore one or the other. Sometimes you don’t know the causes of a problem, and merely wish to emphasize a possible solution in terms of the desired effect. In such cases, you can speculate about possible causes with respect to your proposal as long as the audience understands the connection to your proposed outcome is uncertain.
3. When listing causes, consider all possibilities within a reasonable frame of reference. Use evidence and facts to support your conclusions. With the help of visual aids, such as a chart or diagram projected overhead or given as a handout, simplify your list of direct or indirect causes so the audience need not wade through a massive amount of detail to find the main points.
4. In outlining effects that are already noted or that may potentially occur, state each one clearly and simply. Provide support detail, such as statistics, anecdotes, or research studies, to confirm your conclusions. When projecting possible effects, indicate all possibilities to give your audience a well-rounded perspective. If you have several, group them into categories that make the outcomes more accessible to your audience. For example, in explaining desired outcomes, or effects, of increased investment in local community businesses, possible outcomes may include an economic group that includes more business, better business, and long-term business, with social effects such as more prosperous neighborhoods, higher employee incomes, and less unemployment.
5. When combining cause and effect in one speech or presentation, separate them distinctly for your audience. You can either follow a point-counter-point style of delivery by stating a cause before citing its effect, or you can cover all possible cases separately before then discussing all possible effects. You may wish to make two different handouts or overhead projection views to help your audience readily distinguish between the two.
Cause and effect is a helpful strategy for business presentations and speeches. It is also popular in areas like social service, criminal justice, and politics, among others. Consider using this rhetorical mode the next time you analyze the contributing causes or potential outcomes of an important situation in a speech or presentation.Cause and effect