How to Structure Your Presentations Efficiently
Once you have decided on the purpose of your presentation and identified your audience, you need to prepare the structure and content in order to go from storyboard to creating a successful talk. Structuring can take time. You can get it done efficiently so you can maximise practice time by doing the following:
- Gather the necessary information
- Select the material to be included
- Create a general outline
- Start to write
Create an Outline
For simplicity when creating the outline, experienced presenters often group the content contained in the body into three main sections: these tend to be clearly defined topics that unite for a compelling purpose and narrative.
Most importantly, you can use a spider map to make this process easier and more productive. When creating a spider map, write your objective in the centre of a blank sheet of paper.
Next, draw lines to connect the centre of your spider map to the outer “bubbles”, which should represent the key topics, themes or issues that you wish to cover. Then, draw more lines outwards to further bubbles which represent the sub-topics, examples and details.
Use this structure to map and spatially represent all of the content that you will cover in your presentation.
For example, if you were to present your company’s services to a prospective client this would sit in the centre, the three bubbles in the first layer around the centre might be:
- Analysis of the prospect’s competitive landscape and business problems
- Solutions your service will deliver
- Deployment and implementation of your service
Once you have your ideas fully mapped out, you can then decide on the sequence of the topics and sections to create your storyboard. For more complex presentations, it’s vital you review and reorganise the linkages between different sections and sub-sections as they emerge on the spider map. This will help you develop a clear narrative.
Next, recognise the common themes you see. These may indicate your potential key messages! Therefore, when it comes to delivering your presentation, these key messages will help you to hammer home points, so they resonate with your audience.
Then, and only then, you can transfer everything into a presentation deck (on PowerPoint or Keynote) to visualise content.
Why wait until now? Because deciding on sequencing before you design in the application will ensure you don’t waste time reordering and redesigning slides in the application (I’ve been there, I know!).
Preparing and structuring your presentation is a critical part of a successful presentation. When you have strong, well-organised content it gives you the confidence to produce powerful performances. Now get that preparation done efficiently using spider maps!
To get practical feedback on your presentations, both in the content planning and the delivery, take a look at our Presentation Skills Training.