Good presentation structure is like a fine meal. Your introduction serves as an entree – something to tantalize the taste buds and have you looking forward to the main course. The main course is the ‘Meat and three veg’ component. This is the substance of your presentation. And as for the dessert – well, this is the conclusion – something to leave a nice taste in your mouth and to be memorable.
Here are 3 tips to ensure a strong and easy to follow presentation structure when preparing for your next presentation.
1. Write your introduction last
Your introduction requires tremendous thought. It is here that you establish the importance of the topic. What it is that you will be speaking about Why it is important and Why the listener should care.
Don’t forget, you also need a ‘grab’. This should be the first 10 – 30 seconds of your presentation. Something to capture the audience’s attention; a startling statistic, hypothetical question, story or quote that provides a memorable sound bite.
2. Pick a plan
Jerry Weissman in his book ‘Winning Presentations’ identifies 16 flow structures. Here are my five favourites:
1. Problem/ Solution
Organises the presentation around a problem and the solution offered by your company.
2. Rhetorical Questions
Asks, then answers, questions that are likely to be foremost in the minds of your audience.
3. Features /Benefits
Organises the presentation around a series of your product or service features and the concrete benefits provided by those features.
4. Case Study
A narrative recounting how you or your company solved a particular problem for a client.5. PhysicalOrganises a cluster of ideas according to their physical or geographic locations.
3. Conclude with a call to action
So… what IS your presentation objective? What do you want them to do, say, think or feel? Now is the time to ask:
“Will that be cash or charge?”
My favourite ways to ask for action include:
“So, where do we go from here?” (then tell them)
“What do we need to do differently come Monday?”“To summarise, there a three important things you need to know…”“So… what are you going to do now? What changes can you make to ensure…?”
Good speech and presentation structure enables us to take the audience’s hand and lead them on a gastronomic journey that leaves them sated and nourished, rather than stuffed with empty calories and a nasty bout of indigestion!