For all you Weeds fans out there in cyberspace, I’m wondering if you are having a similar reaction to the one I’m having about this season’s episodes:  the wheels have come off and it’s careening all over hell’s half acre – or at least Hell’s Kitchen. What happened to Shane?  He’s turned into an extra.  Where’s the conflicted, but palpable love connection between Andy and Nancy?  Andy’s selling bicycles?  What did they do to Silas?  He transitions right back into a Mamma’s boy after being away for three years?  These are characters I’ve grown to enjoy watching and now I wonder if the show has “Jumped the Shark.”

As my business partner Charlotte and I have joked for quite a while now, we can connect any topic, headline or natural disaster to public speaking.  Hurricane Irene?  Too much content and not enough editing before standing up to speak.  The recent earthquake on the east coast?  Bouncing from one topic to another and nearly giving your audience whiplash.  And so on.

Scant wonder that I‘ve discovered an object lesson in this season of Weeds:  every speech needs a cohesive structure – maps and signposts that enable us to take the journey with you, the speaker.  The audience first needs to understand your purpose. Then they need to become familiar with your format, your beginning, middle and end, so they are able to follow along.  Then they need helpful transitions that weave a single thread through your entire presentation.

Bottom line:  A cohesive structure inspires confidence in the audience that you have done your homework and you are worth listening to.  Sorry Nancy Botwin, I had to say it.

– Barbara