Structure For Speeches And Presentations: Take Your Audience From Hell to Heaven.

Speech structure Hell-Heaven-Way: How to structure your speech to make a mighty impression
Ancient structuring formula for speeches and presentation

Structure of Speech: From Hell to Heaven


Promote a desirable change? Better products and processes, a public challenge, etc. This speech structure makes it easier to convince more effectively. Use the tips for your speeches and presentations.

Take your audience with you: From hell to heaven


You offer a way to better conditions? It’s about promoting change? Whether products, processes, etc. You want to hold a public  office?

I call this easy to use and very effective speech structure the “Hell Heaven Way”. If the conditions are untenable and there are solutions available, you can also use it outside the church to convince your audience.




Sections of that speech structure


The structure of Hell-Heaven-Way is easy to learn:

  • Hell
    In this case, this is the unpleasant actual condition
  • Heaven
    This is the idyllic target state.
  • Way
    Your solution and the way to get there.




Step by step instructions


Step 1: Hell


Describe the untenable current situation. Clarify the disadvantages, increase the level of concern. Address all senses. Underline how chaotic, faulty and unsafe the condition is. Draw a gloomy picture. It’s about the contrast: If there were no hell, who would dream of coming to paradise?




Step 2: Heaven


This is the target state with the comparatively beautiful conditions. In beautiful colors you describe the paradisaical situations. What a contrast!




Step 3: Way


To hell with hell! You present your solution and the way there. A Spanish proverb says: “You don’t ascend to heaven on a ladder, but through good works”. Describe how you will guide your target group into the promised land. As with Adam, Eve and the apple, so to speak, only the other way round. Who can resist the temptation? Hallelujah!




Advantages of this speech structure


Hell-Heaven-Way is a very catchy speech structure that the audience can easily follow. This enhances credibility. The biggest advantage of this simple speech format lies in creating the maximum contrast between the target and the actual state: before hell – after heaven. The target state must be very desirable! Comparing before and after from hell to heaven is an increase of the antithesis. Here all senses can easily be addressed and the effect intensified.



Is that enough theory? You can find out more about the practical use of ancient rhetoric in Presentations Skills Training III, without the need for ancient Greek or Latin.

Just ask me personally

Let's get into a conversation. Please post any questions that may interest other readers in the comments. If you are interested in coaching or training, for personal questions about that and appointments you can reach me by e-mail (, phone +49(0)30 864 213 68 and mobile phone +49(0)1577 704 53 56. You can also use this contact form. Please read the information about the privacy policy.


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True, Heaven prohibits certain pleasures; but one can generally negotiate a compromise. Moliere

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: March 6, 2015
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 15, 2019
Translation: August 15, 2019
German version: