Clarifying Your Central Theme or Premise (Part 2)

Your first step in creating your speech structure is to answer this question: “Based on my subject, what is my premise or central theme?” This is the big idea you want to get across.
Every TV show, movie, and book has a clear premise. So does your presentation.
Every audience wants to know that you know who they are. The premise statement is valuable because when you have your core presentation, it helps you adapt your focus and examples for each audience. Sometimes you state your premise. Other times it is in the back of your mind driving your presentation.

Hear Patricia describe your Central Theme or Premise

Imagine that I ask you, “If you had one sentence rather than 20 or 45 minutes for your presentation, what would you say?” If your answer is in one sentence and not a paragraph, you probably have your central theme.  That is the premise of your presentation.

The dictionary definition of a premise is “A basis of argument leading to a conclusion.”

Once you have your premise, you list your key talking points, what we like to call your “points of wisdom,” into the outline of your presentation.

Your talking points prove your premise; they make your case for you.

You will find that the Fripp Premise Formula will help you clarify your thinking and organize your content around it while connecting to your specific audience.

Grab your pad, and write down the page, not across it.

Every . . .

Can . . .

The subject of your talk/result.

Underneath that, write “How?” and your three points of wisdom:

1, 2, and 3.

The premise of this article is and any presentation I deliver on this subject is the following: “Every ambitious professional or leader can create a powerful, persuasive presentation.”

At this point you are thinking, “That is what I want; how do I do that?” We answer the burning question we led you to ask, based on the premise statement.

The premise statement:

Every (fill in the blank) can (fill in subject or result) . . .

For example:

Every entrepreneur CAN build their business and credibility.

Every sales professional CAN drive more sales with the same database.

Every leader CAN inspire action and commitment.

Every educator CAN actively engage their students.

The premise formula leads to the points of wisdom. This is the simple structure where you add your information.

Every . . .

Can . . .

The subject of your talk/result.

Underneath that, write “How?” and your three points of wisdom:

1, 2, and 3.

The video clip is from on Powerful, Persuasive Presentations online learning platform.

Want a demo?

“The information in FrippVT is as valuable as any college course I’ve taken. This is a resource that everyone needs. The investment is worth ten times more than I paid and has been life-changing. My fees, recommendations, and referrals have increased dramatically. I am delighted. For the first time in my speaking career, I know exactly want I am doing when I walk on stage. One technique in course 8 helped me win an international speech.” Mitzi Perdue, author of How to Make Your Family Business Last


“A strong presentation structure gives you the freedom to be creative.” Patricia Fripp

This is how you organize your presentation with a logical flow. (Part one)

It will be easy for both you and your audience to remember with minimal or no notes.

The more you work on clarifying your content, organizing your structure, then adding some initial scripting, the easier it will be for you to have professional-sounding delivery.

You would not build a home without a blueprint. You would not drive to another city without a map, GPS, or good directions. It is the same with your speech structure. It is what we consider the skeleton under the flesh of your words.

Once you have decided on the content you are going to include in your presentation, you are ready to learn how to organize it into a strong structure.

The first step is to clarify the intent and benefit of your message for the audience.

To simplify this process, think of a presentation you must deliver in the near future, or revisit one you have already delivered and look at it with fresh eyes. Look at your content list and select what will go into this particular presentation.

Your presentation will most likely include your key ideas, stories, examples, statistics, and quotes from authorities.  If you are presenting at somebody else’s meeting, listen to the project champion or person in charge. Perhaps they would like for you to reinforce meeting themes or contribute topics of specific interest to them.

Who is your audience? What is the purpose of your presentation? Based on your subject, what do you want them to know, feel, and do?

This process will also help you get clarity into your thinking and message. More to come next week on how to Structure Your Presentation

The video clip is from on Powerful, Persuasive Presentations online learning platform. Want a demo?


Hollywood Knows How to Connect Emotionally with an Audience

Just as speakers, sales professionals, and leaders have to.

A cast of colorful characters works in front of and behind the camera to make a movie, a movie that has the power to transport us into the future or show us life as it might once have been.

Hollywood can teach us how to add impact to our presentations.

Here is an example of how I open a presentation about movie techniques that help us become better speakers.

The lesson to learn is to speak in short phrases and build a rhythm.

In Hollywood you have…

Directors, producers, and cinematographers

Casting directors

Actors, stand-ins, and stuntmen

Composers, musicians, and musical directors

Set designers, art directors, carpenters, and construction coordinators

Sound mixers, lighting technicians, and camera operators

Production designers, costume designers, and script supervisors

Makeup artists, hairstylists, and prop masters

Teleplay writers, production assistants, and boom operators

Gaffers, key grips, best boy grips, dolly grips, and editors

Dozens of caters because an army marches on their stomach, and apparently so does Hollywood!

We have a cast of colorful characters who work in front of and behind a camera to make a movie…

that has the power to transport us into the future…or show us life as it may once have been.

Twenty years ago I attended at least 10 different screenwriting classes, not because I believe I have the talent or patience to write a screenplay, but because Hollywood knows how to tell a good story.

As part of my self-development, I wanted to learn how to adapt some movie principles to help me in my speaking and speech coaching career. Plus, they were great fun to attend. The other attendees, including several celebrities, were interesting. As a result, I enjoy movies even more than before.

Here are three ideas from three experts:

Michael Hauge, who is now a great friend and collaborator, says, “The purpose of a story is to elicit emotion.”

Robert McKee says, “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself.” Michael explains, “A story needs to be true, not 100% accurate.”

David Freeman says, “The opening of the movie is the “flavor scene.” I have opened presentations of Great Presentations: Hollywood Style using the content of the video above.

Yes, Hollywood does know how to arouse our interest, take us on an emotional rollercoaster, make us laugh, cry, gasp, cheer, feel terrified, and stand in the rain for more.

Leaders, speakers, sales professionals, all ambitious professionals, in fact, can learn a few lessons from Hollywood to teach, train, inspire, motivate, convince, and persuade.

Michael Hauge is the author of Storytelling Made Easy and coaches business professionals on their stories.

Robert McKee is the author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting.

David Freeman is now an Executive VP, Disney TV

Would you like me to help you add Hollywood to your presentations?

Michael Hauge and Patricia Fripp teaching Hollywood principles in presentations.
Lisa Poole knows how to capture an audience’s attention.

Do you know how to deliver technical, industry-specific presentations and add theatrical techniques?

Yes, it is possible. Here is a great example of an industry expert who knows how to open her presentation with impact and capture an audience’s attention after a fun, late-night party.

Lisa Poole, CPP, is the 2021 Payroll Woman of the Year, VP, Payroll Governance Manager, Truist and part of the Speakers Bureau for the American Payroll Association. Engaging an audience with a somewhat technical topic can be a challenge. Not for Lisa!

Lisa said the techniques she learned in 18 years of my APA Speaker training helped her create the following introduction to her session on “Adding Value to Your Organization Through Job Costing.”

“Good morning! Did you enjoy last evening’s Payroll Palooza? After that party, I bet you slept very soundly! Would it interest you to know that 37 separate components go into making the mattress you slept on?

“While working at Simmons Bedding Company, I learned that we manufactured over 50 different styles of mattresses that were comprised of up to 37 distinct parts. Imagine the following job positions having a hand in making your great night’s sleep last night:

A Cutter and Closer

A Sewer and Quilter

A Coiler and Foamer

A Hog Ringer and Nailer

A Ruffler and Borderer – is that even a word?

A Baler and an Edger

An Assembler and Stitcher

A Topper and Stager

A Builder and Mechanic

A Packer and Shipper

An Inspector and a Sweeper

A Scanner and an Upholsterer

And finally, a Capper!

And I’m sure I left a few off this list!

“Our Production Managers knew to the penny the exact cost of each mattress type by raw material and labor function.

In the next 90 minutes, you will learn what costing is, the different types of costs, what to consider in setting up a costing system, and the elements that will make your costing solution a success.

I challenge you to capture your audiences’ attention with Interesting Statistics and Little-Known Facts!

Lisa is a nationally recognized subject matter expert in Payroll Auditing, Compliance, and Operations. 

“Patricia Fripp’s ability to teach presentation skills is astounding. She continues to set high standards when leading our APA speakers to excellence. FrippVT is a valuable resource I recommend to all APA leaders, speakers, and members. Since 1996 Patricia Fripp has been a valued partner to APA.”
Dan Maddux, Executive Director, American Payroll Association.

Let meFripp Virtual Training help you become a great presenter quickly, easily, and cost-effectively on your own schedule. I’m here for you 24/7 through Fripp Virtual Training.

Join FrippVT today!


Yes, everything begins with a love story. Happy 35th anniversary!

This will be of interest to you if you are a friend or fan of my brother Robert Fripp, legendary guitarist of King Crimson, and his very talented wife award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress Toyah Willcox. This is a tribute to them on their 35th anniversary.

This might also interest you if you are a sucker from romance.

My wish for you is that video tribute sparks some joy in your life.

Created with love and attention by Rob Depew of DigitalEDGE in Las Vegas.

Robert Fripp and Toyah Willcox may your romance continue for another 35 years. Meanwhile, make every day count.


If you do not enjoy the position, salary, or respect your feel you deserve, I recommend you dress and speak for the role you aspire to, not the one you now have.

When I was growing up, my mother gave me great advice.

Patricia with her parents, on the right, and friends dressed up for Rotary Ladies NIght.

She said, “Patricia, of course, it is the inner you that is most important. However, you have to dress up and look good so that you can attract others. They will then discover how nice and smart you are and how you can be of value to them.”

Hollywood has ideas to help you get promoted.

Edith Head, the famous costume designer for Hollywood movies, gave us more great advice!

She said, “You can have everything you want as long as you dress for it!” She had a point. Costumes are as essential for the movie of your life as they are for a Hollywood movie.

Before you open your mouth, your appearance speaks for you.

If you do not want to be perceived as boring, sign up for Patricia Fripp’s May 15 Masterclass

When you have created your presentation you are only halfway there.

You need to internalize your new way of presenting and make it second nature. When you deliver your presentation, you want to be able to focus on the audience, not your performance.

Build rehearsal into your everyday life.

You will never be able to schedule as much rehearsal as much as you need, so make it a part of your routine:

  • Practice your presentation as you walk around your office.
  • Record your presentation and listen to it. How does it sound?
  • Rehearse on a treadmill, which engages your left and right brain and can help you see your presentation structurally and creatively.
  • Ask friends and supportive colleagues to be your test audience. These are people who are on your side and have your best interests at heart.

Decide your movement strategy.

Some presenters like to move, while others stand still. There is a big difference, however, between movement and nervous energy. Have you noticed that some presenters do what looks like a little dance in the front of the room? Or put their weight on one leg and then the other? Do not distract from your own message with unnecessary movement.

In the beginning, it is best to stand still, and I also recommend standing still when you are telling a story or delivering your key benefits as a way to emphasize your points. How you stand represents the stability of your ideas and your company, which builds your authority and makes you feel comfortable. If you have an accent, remaining stationary helps your audience get used to the sound of your voice. (This may not make sense, but it is true!) If you are moving around when they are getting accustomed to the sound of your voice, your listeners often believe they can’t hear.

The three ways to move.

If you study exceptional speakers, you will notice that they employ three types of movement:

  • On purpose. When you are moving and it is very obvious to the audience that you intended to move.
  • On transition. You move between one thought and the next. One of my clients’ transitional lines was “Fast forward seven years.” That was when he would move from one talking point to the other. If you have three or four talking points, feel free to move between each one. While you are moving, you can use the phrase “And the second strategy is . . .” and “And the third strategy is . . .”, etc.
  • On a movement-specific line. You move to act out your words, such as, “As I walked into your corporate office . . .”

The eyes have it.

When you look around the table, use “piece-of-the-pie” eye contact. Deliver your opening line to one person. Most likely it will be one of the most important people in the room. Then look at each person for a thought, an idea, or a phrase. Don’t scan. Communicate your interest and confidence by looking at each of them for at least a few seconds.

The Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine said, “Rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.”

Anytime you see a natural salesperson or a great speaker, chances are that they are so well-rehearsed that they look natural. Follow these suggestions and you’ll get there as well!

“I wanted a super bowl quality coach. Patricia Fripp’s help in coaching and scripting was world-class. With Fripp on your team, you can go places.” Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“As the author of a best-selling sales book the best investment in my speaking career was to hire speech coach Patricia Fripp. She is the master at helping you structure and script your presentation.” – Andy Paul, Author, Zero Time Selling


It is not your client’s job to remember you. It is your responsibility to make sure you are unforgettable.

Here is a great action step to take. Call your five best clients, those whom you currently use as references.

Even if you leave a voicemail, say “Bob, I never get tired of telling the story about how we (fill in the name of an important project you worked on together). Would you mind telling me in your words what your experience was? Did we reach or exceed your expectations? Did we come in under budget? With your permission, I would like to make an appointment and record your comments. May I use you as an example in my sales presentations? Let me know when we can talk.”

Takes your satisfied clients on your sales calls

Tell happy clients stories in your sales presentations.

Your good clients and customers will be excited to be quoted. In fact, they would probably be flattered to be featured in your sales presentations, and you will be amazed at how eloquent they are. Most likely they will be more complimentary and come up with better phrases and rave reviews than you can remember. In your stories, you will have the actual dialogue of what they are saying about you. You might even be able to get all the information from comments you have on your website or in letters. Make sure you have specifics.

Still shy about asking? Here is a bonus: The very fact that you are calling will often remind them they need more of your services. Or they were just talking about you to a friend and they now have a reference for you. This has happened many times in my business when I just called to say hi! I’ve also experienced it from the client-side when one of my vendor partners has called me.

This is a twofer:

You update your happy client success stories with fresh material and set up an opportunity for more business, just by picking up the phone.

The Number 1 way to make your sales conversations successful is by telling happy customer stories. I challenge you to call your happy clients!

Make More Sales More Often

FrippVT Sales is an interactive online training for sales presentations.

“To watch how our veteran group of salespeople became involved in your Storytelling to Increase Sales was impressive. We are excited to continue your training with FrippVT Sales.” Jeff Walters, Vice President, North American Sales, Peak-Ryzex

“We consider the investment in Patricia’s coaching a ‘must-have’ part of our events. Since Patricia has been working with our expert technical presenters our customers rate their performances superb.” Greg Smith, Vice President, Product Marketing at Nutanix


In 2000 the TV show 60 Minutes spent five days at the National Speakers Association convention.

I was one of many interviewed and one of the few not left on the cutting room floor. Yea! They asked me the question you may be wondering, “Patricia, you used to be a hairstylist; now you are a motivational speaker. There has to be a big difference.”

This is what I said:

That line got me on 60 Minutes. That half-inch has made me millions of dollars. Not all in the same year!

I loved being a men’s hairstylist in the San Francisco financial district and traveling the country teaching hairstylists. Once I became a professional speaker, however, my world expanded.

Over the years of my career, I invested years and thousands of dollars into increasing the quality of my presentations. I hired the best speech coaches and attended comedy and screenwriting classes before I discovered that others wanted to learn what I knew to shorten their learning curve.

Of course, I don’t know what gives you the most satisfaction from your life or career, but for me, as much as I love being on stage and hearing applause, it is much more rewarding to see and hear how my clients are becoming more successful and getting results from my help.

Regardless of your goals or career path, becoming a good public speaker will help you excel.

Does this make sense to you? Let me know what you like most about what you do and how you help others.

Bottom line, good public speaking skills will help you help others. You may never be interviewed on 60 Minutes  however, you can still be a star. I am here to help you. Want a conversation to see how?

“Your ability to hold an audience in the palm of your hand with a story is incredible. Your talent in turning a speaker into a world champion on the fly in front of a packed audience is even more amazing. When COVID-19 turned everything into a virtual experience, you were the first speaker and trainer I thought of to help us break through the noise and attract a crowd.

When our community hears you are presenting, the registration numbers skyrocket. Mixing your inspirational stories combined with digital elements like video keeps the audience engaged and wanting more! They keep asking “When can we get Fripp back?”” Michelle Kabele, Channel Marketing, Zebra Technologies




With the Right Sales Presentations, You Can! 

Developing good public speaking skills helps you make more sales more often.

To sell you need technical skills, product knowledge, know how you compare to your competition, territory management, a good relationship management system, discipline, and self-management. However, that is not enough. Too often the best presentation wins.

Earlier in my career when I was primarily a keynote speaker, a large food service company invited me to keynote their yearly sales conference. After my speech, Jennifer, the National Sales Manager, pulled me aside and said, “I liked your speech. However, I really loved how you delivered it. Can you teach our salespeople to speak that way? We sell quality food and uniforms to hospitals and healthcare systems.

It takes us a year of work and relationship management to be in a position to deliver an hour presentation to a hospital board. It is worth $9 million dollars a year if we win the business. We are losing sales, and it has nothing to do with our offering or price. When I follow up, I keep hearing it has to do with the fact that the presentation skills of our competitors are better than ours.”

As I put together the program for them, little did I know she had just given me the secret to always be in demand, no matter how good or bad the economy is.

Lucky for them and me, Jennifer realized there are some great presenters who can teach others to improve.

Why is it that so many companies assume their seasoned content experts and sales teams can naturally deliver any message well. Many well-educated professionals have never received any training or coaching, and they don’t take the initiative themselves usually because they had a bad experience in school at age eight!

Shelly Seeger read my special report on 11 Mistakes Sales Professionals Make in Their Presentations and called.

She said, “Help! I work with a large software company, and we only hire seasoned sales professionals. They must have at least ten years selling technology. Naturally, we assumed they could successfully tell our company story…until we had a meeting and all the sales professionals had to deliver in front of our leadership team. They were horrified!

I have been charged to search the world for the best sales presentation skills trainer. Lucky for us, you are only thirty-eight miles from headquarters!”

In sales when everything else is close or equal, The No 1 Best Way to drive more sales more often is to improve your presentation skills.

In the Fripp Powerful, Persuasive Presentations Masterclass you will learn to drive more sales more often by perfecting your presentation skills.


“Thank you for the impact and training you delivered at your second National Sales Conference.  We have a veteran group of salespeople, and many times these groups are hard to impress. At your first Sales Conference, your sales presentations skills sessions really delivered. Everyone loved it and demanded we invite you back for more! I did not know how you could top your first performance, and you certainly did! When you interviewed three of our top sales professionals and rewrote and tightened their stories, everyone gasped! They are all excited that they can continue to learn from you 24/7 with FrippVT.”  Jeff Walters, Vice President, North American Sales, Peak-Ryzex

“Thank you for your fantastic presentation for the Professional Speechwriters Association. You brought that combination so rare among conference speakers; style and substance in spades.” Sheri Saginor, President, Smart Speeches