Nurture and Encourage People with the Power of Structure

Not all people are wide-eyed, starry-eyed, eagle-eyed people of passion and purpose. As an HR or L&D professional, our mission at work (and often in life) is to empower people with the knowledge and skills that they need to thrive. And a great way to empower people is through nurture and encouragement. You and I, we need a little bit of encouragement at different points of our lives. Sometimes, we can’t see our potential. Sometimes, we experience a train of setbacks that eat at our self-belief. Sometimes, we get so bogged down with daily to-dos that we forget to nurture ourselves. 

Unusually, when we design our training programmes at People Potential, we incorporate the nurture and encouragement elements that people need to learn and grow. One of our most effective tools that we use to nurture and encourage is structure.

Nurture with Structure

We usually associate ‘nurturing’ with a pat on the back followed by friendly declarations like, “Good job!” or, “Well done!” But even though the person in front of you might beam with pride because of your approval, unfortunately, kind words can only go so far. Done alone without growing their knowledge and abilities, a pat on the back can only give a temporary uplift in spirit and performance.

Instead, to help people to level up at work, we’ll have to impart useful knowledge and skills. To do that, we nurture our participants with the power of structure. Take public speaking for example; we place so much emphasis on stage presence, body language, vocal tones, and how to design Powerpoint slides. Whereas, the structure is often underappreciated and takes a back seat. But it’s the structure of the presentation that makes it meaningful and memorable – even in the absence of an animated presence or well-designed slides. More than once, I’ve seen speakers speak in monotone while standing still, like a tree on a windless day, hidden behind the lectern – only to mesmerise the audience with a powerful and moving speech. The structure is what makes that possible. Incidentally, the structure is what we focus on in many of People Potential’s business presentations programmes. It’s what makes our programmes unique.

I’m a business presentations specialist at People Potential, and over the years, I’ve run dozens of business presentations programmes for a mix of people and industries. From all my years of nurturing and encouraging people, here’s what I’ve found about the nurturing power of structure.

How structure can nurture and encourage

On the first day of business presentations training, we present our participants with a structure on how they can arrange their thoughts clearly and succinctly – in a way that engages and makes sense to their audience. 

During training, as the minutes go by, their once jumbled clouds of thought coalesce – as if pulled in by gravity – into structured talking points. It’s at this moment that they realise, “This is how I should have presented my ideas.” As they think of all the times when their hard-fought, hard-thought, emotionally-fraught ideas were pooh-poohed by the powers that be, their many months of hard work vanished in a flash – because of that one presentation that didn’t go their way. And another, then another.

As their clouds of seemingly random thoughts fall into structured talking points, our participants start to see how they could have made their ideas clearer to their managers, how they could have answered questions before they became questions, and how they could have structured their ideas to appeal to their superiors. Their confidence starts to rise as they visualise how they could have made their past presentations better. They start to look forward to future presentations. They no longer feel helpless to effect change within their organisation.

“They start to look forward to future presentations.”

The problem with unstructured communications

I’ve coached many managers over the years. They’re intimate with their subject matter and know it like the back of their hand. But often, they’re unable to communicate their expertise or their thoughts clearly and succinctly. Things get worse when they encounter a problem – the chaos that comes from unstructured communication creates misunderstandings, project delays, and flared tempers.

But by exposing managers to a structured way of thinking and communicating, they experience the often-motivating ‘AHA!’ moment when they look back and realise that they could have avoided misunderstandings. With newfound skills to create structured communications, they level up – few things are as motivating as knowing that we’ve grown. Through this process, we effectively nurture and encourage our participants to use the power of structure. 

How Presentations Alive!™ Uses Structure to Nurture and Encourage

When running our Presentations Alive!™ programme, the first day is about getting the structure sorted out. One of the first things that our participants do is to deliver baseline presentations so that we get an idea of how they’re currently presenting their ideas. Often, we see that they’ve mastered their topic, but because they haphazardly present information, their ideas are often misunderstood and lack the ability to sustain interest. 

When delivering their baseline presentations, they might have a topic, but the way that their information is presented is akin to a freshly disassembled jigsaw puzzle that a toddler has kicked around. The pieces don’t make sense, they’re not in any recognisable order, and a few pieces are missing under the sofa. But this changes once our training participants understand how to organise information. 

When participants figure out who their audience is and what they care about, they then go about sifting through all the information that they have and start to structure their thoughts in a way that appeals to their audience. Once they’ve taken out everything else that doesn’t matter to their audience, they see their presentations start to become clear and succinct.

This is the point where people start to feel encouraged. When people feel that they can connect with others and influence the future of their work and their organisation’s future, that’s when good ideas come to the forefront, teams take the initiative, and organisational culture starts to feel that little bit brighter. 

“They no longer feel helpless to effect change within their organisation.”

Hi, I’m Regina Morris, a delivery skills specialist at People Potential and a master NLP practitioner.

“Antoine de Saint-Exupery, in his book The Little Prince, wrote: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

I try very hard to see with my heart. But it used to be a bad thing. The heart was seen as purely emotional and did not belong in the boardroom. Yet it’s with the heart that we decide on integrity and deliver with passion. These are the two qualities that I bring to all my training. By seeing with my heart, I’m patient with my participants and I make learning fun. And my heart believes without a doubt, that all my participants have it in themselves to grow and improve. 

* A decade of teacher expectations research 2008–2018: Historical foundations, new developments, and future pathways:


Talk to us about how we can help you to nurture and encourage your people to make a bigger impact within your organisation–through structure. Email Mints at: [email protected]