Structuring a Presentation
Structuring a presentation is for me the most important step in the presentation's creation process. Why? Because a good
structure is the basis on which
you'll develop the information you've gathered into a logical step-by-step
presentation. Without a proper
structure, your presentation will flop. Believe me, you want to avoid the novice
mistakes I made when I started presenting by saying things such as: Ill,
err eh... jump forward 3 slides to explain this point, and then Ill come back
to this slide to explain that point.
Get this right and your presentation will be a breeze from
beginning to end
Think of a presentation as a story covering a certain theme. As such, your objective is to deliver that story as interestingly and
effectively as possible. And so like all good stories, the presentation needs a clear structure
to enable your audience to follow your story, get a good understanding of your main themes, and leave the presentation feeling that it has been a worthwhile experience.
In the words of an old army sergeant I once met, the secret of a good presentation
structure is to:
Tell them what you're going to tell them.
Tell them what you just told them.
In a way he was right. In its simplest form, that is the
outline of a good presentation. These three basic parts can be thought of as (A)
the introduction, (B) the main body and (C) the conclusion of a story. So, as
with storytelling, you need to open up the context of the presentation in the
'A' section, present the bulk of your information in the 'B' section, and then
summarize what you've said in the 'C' section.
However, there are many different ways of taking these
basic parts and structuring a presentation.
Unfortunately, many novice presenters give little consideration to the presentation structure, and start producing PowerPoint slides as and when ideas come into their head.
Sure, all the information may be buried in their presentation somewhere, but because it is not structured, the audience is left feeling irritated and confused. In short, the presentation has failed!
So what does structuring a presentation involve? It can involve several steps
from creating a mind map to developing an outline. The following articles examine different techniques in structuring a presentation
and looks at different outline formats for a good and effective
Finding it difficult to know where to begin? Why not create a mind map to kick
start your ideas and get that presentation structure off to a flying start.
Creating an Outline
Structure you presentation by creating an outline. Three basic types looked at
here: spatial, topic and chronology.
To help structure your presentation, including cause-effect, problem-solution &
issue-action outline examples.
Here we look at the acceptability outline structure. A perfect structure when
you want to persuade or sell an idea.
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Structuring a Presentation
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