Structuring of a presentation

There is one basic premise for the structuring of a presentation.
Tell them what you are going to tell them.
Tell them
Tell them what you have told them.
Sounds really simple and it is if you stick to it. The psychology of this is that people need to hear something three times before they can take it on board and maybe act on it.
Let’s take a look at the three stages.

Tell them what you are going to tell them

This section is where you introduce yourself and the subject you are about to talk about. You are also going to thank them for taking the time to be there. The audience need to be acknowledged and to feel important to you.
This is also where you set some rules. Yes you are the one who is in charge. You are the presenter and they are your audience. The first thing you are going to tell them is how long they are going to be there. There is nothing worse than a fidgety audience who are looking at their watches. If they don’t know how long the presentation is, they will start to do this after about 7 to 10 minutes. If they know it’s 20 minutes or half an hour they won’t have to guess.
The audience needs to feel comfortable so they need to know what is going to happen and what is expected of them. Ask them to switch off mobile phones. No one wants one of those going off while they are presenting. If you don’t ask them to, they won’t bother.
Let them know what to expect from your presentation. Tell them about the subjects you are going to talk to them about. Also tell them when you will be taking questions. The best time for this is between the tell them section and the tell them what you have just told them section. If you don’t ask them to hold questions until the end, chances are someone will ask a question during your presentation and completely throw you. I have seen a whole presentation turned into a Q&A session rather than a presentation with the presenter not really saying what they wanted to say. Never let the audience be in charge. That is your job.
Now this may seem a lot but it can be very concise and take no more than a minute or two.
” Hello and welcome to today’s presentation about the plight of tigers in the wild and how you may be able to help their situation. My name is Karen and I will be talking to you for about half an hour. I really appreciate your taking the time to be here today and would like it if you could hold any questions you have until the end of the presentation so I do not keep you here for too long. If I could also ask you to switch of your mobile phones so we are not interrupted”

Tell them

This is the main part of your presentation which should be structured in an easy to understand manner. Introduce a new subject before you talk about it. You may be using a PowerPoint presentation and I would urge you to read my post Power point in presentations so you do not fall into the death by PowerPoint scenario. You may also be using handouts which is also discussed in that post.
Keep the audience engaged and with you. There may be a point where you can ask them a question that requires a show of hands. This will keep them engaged and with you. If they do have a handout which gives them extra information on top of what you are telling them point out what page they can find it on.


Take questions here. If you actually wait until the end it means you have given control to the audience. My post on handling difficult questions may be useful to you here.

Tell them what you have just told them

Thank them for their questions and for their time today. Reiterate the main point of the presentation and then ask them to do what it is you want them to do as a result of your presentation. Finish on a positive note and a smile.
“Thank you very much for your questions and for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today. I hope you have realised what a difficult situation our tigers are in and hope that many of you will sign up today as a volunteer for raising much needed funds. The applications are here for you to fill in and I will be around for the next half an hour or so in case any of you want more information. Again thank you for your time and look forward to speaking with you again”
Always leave your audience with the next step or leave yourself open to be able to speak with them again by whatever means.
I hope you have found this easy to understand but most of all that you can now apply this simple process to your presentation. If you have any questions or need any help, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
With Grace and Gratitude

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