Introduction Tag Line (a single phrase stating why the reader should continue with this paper), with
an introduction that summarizes the whitepaper in a single paragraph. A simple overview of the problem, the
proposed solution, and the beneficial outcomes of applying this solution to the problem. This is similar to the
elevator pitch approach. By constructing a paragraph that states
For The named audience
Who The activities this audience participates in
The Solution The that addresses their issues (stated in the last row)
That The beneficial outcomes of this solution
Rather Than Compared to the current situation (restating the problem)
The reader can quickly understand the contents of the paper and decide if future reading is necessary
Act 1 This is the beginning of the story. It should
pull the audience out of the flow of normal
thought processes and focus their attention and
The five scenes in Act 1 will answer the clarifying
questions that every audience silently asks every
In Act 1, the answers to these questions are
shaped in ways that awaken the imagination of
the audience, connects with their emotions, and
persuades them that they want to participate in
the evolving story.
Act 1, Scene 1: Establish the Setting – The
Setting Answers the question the audience
members are silently wondering
Where are we, and when is it?
This scene says something about the setting that
everyone in the room agrees is true.
Scene 1 invites everyone to join you at the same
location, establishes a common ground, and
leaves no doubt about the context for what you
are about to say.
Act 1, Scene 2: Name the Protagonist – Every
story is about somebody
Who are we in this setting?
The protagonist is the main character - the
person who will make a decision to do something
or come to believe something by the end of the
The protagonist is almost always the audience.
Because of this you the presenter becomes the
supporting actor. These means the entire
presentation is not about "speaker support" but
about "audience support."
By establishing the protagonist as the audience
makes the presentation personal for them. Since
they will have direct involvement and a stake in
the outcome, they will pay attention. This
approach also helps the speaker stay focused on
Act 1, Scene 3: Describing the Imbalance –
Stories are about how people respond to
something that has changed in their environment.
Why are we here?
When a protagonist experiences a change, an
imbalance is created because things are no
longer like they used to be.
This is called inciting incident that sets the story
Act 1, Scene 4: Aiming for Balance – No one
likes to remain in the state of imbalance
What do we want to see happen?
The imbalance in Scene 3 and now the restoring
balance in Scene 4 forms the purpose of the
presentation. When the problem is made clear,
the purpose of the presentation is made clear as
Defining the problem for the audience is actually
the hardest part of the presentation. Once the
problem has been clearly defined, telling them
how it will be solved is next.
Act 1, Scene 5: Recommending a Solution – A
Plot Point is where the action suddenly turns in a
particular direction and sets up the development
of the next part of the story.
Writing a White Paper, Briefing, or Training
Materials as a Three–Act Play
Tell a Memorable Story
How are we going to get there from
This is where the protagonist can solve the
problem. This is where the answer to the
question your audience would probably like to
know about their desired state of balance in
Scene 4 - How do we get there from here?
Scene 5 should describe what the protagonist
would do or believe to solve the problem. The
final wording of Scene 5 clearly defines the
measure of success for your presentation. If the
audience accepts your solution by the end of the
story, you'll have succeeded
Act 2 Act 1 appeals to the primary emotions of
the audience. Act 2 appeals to their reason. Act 2
delivers the reasons why people should accept
the solution proposed in the last Scene of Act 1.
Act 2, Scene 1: Supporting the First Main
Point – fleshes out the details to the answers of
the question How or Why. These answers come
in three flavors:
5 Minute - one simple and concise answer to
the question asked by the audience
15 Minute - three detailed sub-answers in
support of the first simple and concise answers
45 Minute - three more detailed sub-sub-
answers for each of the three detailed sub-
answers in support of the simple and concise
answer - for a total of 9 + 3 + 1 answers to the
Main Point of the presentation
Each successive level of detail provides the
reasons for the prior answer. Each answer is a
statement of why or how the previously answer is
Act 2, Scenes 2 & 3: Repeating the Process –
The supporting points should be made in groups
of three (3). The "tell them three times"
suggestion of good proposal writing is in effect
here. Tell them three times the answer to the
question that was asked in Act 1.
Each idea introduced to the audience should
prompt them to wonder why of how. Each answer
provided in Act 2 should answer the question of
why or how with immediate answer.
This approach creates an action / reaction.
Act 2, Scene 4: Creating the Turing Point –
The last scene in Act 1 turned the story in a
particular direction - with a solution.
The last scene in Act 2 needs to turn the story in
the direction of Act 3.
Act 1 Scene 4 told the audience of the Balance
needed to resolve the Imbalance (the problem).
Act 2 Scene 4 needs to remind them of this
desired balance. This can be done by asking a
question that refers to the balance they are
seeking. Phrasing the scene as a question
indicates that the situation is still unresolved and
rekindles the emotional connection made earlier.
This turning point signals that Act 2 has
concluded and you're about to enter the final
phase of tying everything together.
Act 3 Everything is tied together in Act 3 and the
stage is set for the audience to resolve the
Since the audience is the protagonist, they need
to resolve the presentation by deciding whether
they will accept your recommended solution.
Act 3, Scene 1: Restating the Crisis – In Act 1
Scene 3 and Act 1 Scene 4, the central problem
was defined. Two important questions were
Why are we here?
What do we want to see happen?
The answers to these two questions are provided
by restating the crisis for the audience.
Act 3, Scene 2: Recommending a Solution –
Scene 2 repeats the solution exactly as it
appeared in Act 1, Scene 5.
Repeating the solution refreshes the ideas for
your audience, but now the solution means much
more, because the first three scenes of Act 2
describing why and how the solution is a good
This single statement summarizes all the action
that has been developed to this point.
Act 3, Scene 3: Setting Up The Climax – The
Climax of the presentation is where everything
that has been said about the problem
(Imbalance) comes together and any concluding
remarks are made.
Act 3 Scene 3 sets the stage for the final
resolution, which reflects the tone and spirit of the
overall story - inspiration, danger, challenge,
vision, courage, empowerment, or hope.
Act 3, Scene 4: Reaching the Resolution –
Using the Climax developed in Act 3 Scene 3,
action needs to be taken by deciding whether the
audience will accept the recommended solution.
Before they decide, they will want to discuss the
situation, either in an informal dialogue or a
formal question and answer session.
Scene 4 frames the context for this conversation
and the eventual resolution of the presentation by
A wrap up the white paper restating the beneficial
outcomes for the reader of the described
solutions. The conclusion should be one clear
and concise paragraph