Of course, there is more than one way to structure a good presentation. Take time to consider which way is right for your message. How you present is almost as important as the message itself. Your aim is to interest the audience and influence them. You have taken the time to research your topic and identify your audience – now you need to consider which method of presentation will appeal to them the most.
Delivering a presentation can be a daunting task. The more prepared you are in advance, the more likely you are to control your nerves and keep to the script. By taking the time to structure your presentation, you will feel much more in control, and appear more confident and relaxed.
Why is structuring a presentation so important?
All great presentations have certain things in common, and it isn’t always how inspiring or motivating the speaker was. The one thing a great presentation will always have, is structure.
A good speaker will know they must structure their presentation in a logical and simple way. This allows the audience to follow the message and take away key messages. When you consider this it seems obvious. The purpose of a presentation is to share information. If the information is not structured in a way that achieves this, the presentation has failed.
Things to consider:
Presentations should always have a natural flow. However, there is not a one size fits all way to achieve this. All presentations are unique due to various factors, such as:
The audience – who are they, how knowledgeable on the subject are they, why are they there?
Interaction – do you need to interact with your audience?
Setting – where will you be?
Demonstrations – are they required, what will they be?
Visual assistance – will you use them, what kind will you use and how?
Before constructing your presentation structure, consider these three questions first:
- What is the aim of your presentation?
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want your audience to take away from your presentation?
A typical presentation structure
This is a standard presentation structure. It’s a great place to start as it sets out a solid foundation for you to add your content to.
Introduce yourself and greet the audience
Before launching into your presentation, take some time to introduce yourself. Use this time to explain who you are and your expertise. it’s best to keep this short and to the point. This will reinforce your position as a credible source of information and help to put the audience at ease.
Now you can explain the subject and purpose of your presentation. You should state how long the talk will be, indicate whether or not you want audience interaction – eg questions at the end or questions welcomed throughout. And let them know if you have material which will be distributed or if notes need to be taken. This is your opportunity to get the attention of your audience and connect with them.
3. Main body of your presentation
This section will follow through on the outlines you made in the introduction. You can now segment your topic into sections. You can do this by priority, chronologically, by theme, etc. There are many different ways.
Consider using strong images and quotations. Provide a powerful visual for the message. Some people respond much better to imagery than words. By providing both you are covering all bases. This will also help to keep the message stuck in people’s minds and it breaks up the presentation, preventing it from becoming stale.
Make sure your slides and powerpoint presentations are snappy and not long winded and wordy. Always remember less is more. Don’t use 20 words if 10 is enough. Keep your information short and sharp.
This is a key section of your presentation and mustn’t be overlooked. Your conclusion will reinforce your message. By summarising your main points you will clarify the purpose of your presentation.
5. Thanks and questions
Your audience have given up their time to listen to your message. By acknowledging this with thanks you are showing respect and appreciation. This should also be demonstrated by inviting questions from your audience.
Engage in Learning provide online courses to help you make perfect presentations. Our Presentation Skills Pathway courses will equip you with enviable tools and techniques to help you prepare and deliver engaging and successful presentations.