An effective way to prepare a speech, presentation, report, résumé, or, an email is to begin at the end. Place yourself in the recipient’s or the audience’s shoes and look from the outside in by asking a few questions on the outcome of your communication. Write down all the outcomes you desire from your communication; write down everything that comes to mind without filtering any probable outcomes.
Suppose, for example, you are preparing for a speech. Ask yourself “Who is my audience? What do my listeners want to know? What should be the key take-away messages from my speech? What do I want the audience to remember or do following my speech?”
Once you gather all the intended outcomes, prioritize and collect the core conclusions you intend to present your audience. Then, work backwards: assemble your concepts, anecdotes and statistics that support them, and compose a logical flow of thoughts leading to those conclusions.
The key advantage of beginning at the end is a unique perspective that enables you to control the direction of your thoughts during preparing your communication. Consequently, you can toss out any idea that does not directly relate to the messages you want to deliver.
Communication is all about the audience. Beginning at the end effectively helps you focus on the messages you want to deliver to your audience.