How do I prepare my presentation?

So, you have been asked to deliver a presentation. You may well be asking yourself: How do I prepare my presentation?

Once you’ve answered the three key questions (Who’s my audience? How much time have I got? What’s my point?), you will need a structure to help you to prepare your presentation. You need a structure for two reasons:

1. It helps you to organise your content and it keeps you on track.
2. It helps the audience follow what you’re saying (audiences generally want to know ‘where the talk is going’).

There are hundreds of structures you could choose from, or you could create one that is unique. If you’re presenting to an established committee or Board there may be an accepted way of presenting material. In this case our suggestion is to find out what the structure is and then follow that.

Examples of established structures are:

* Alphabetical – from A to Z.

* Numerical – the largest to the smallest, or vice versa.

* Logical sequence: if you were describing a new product, for example, you might choose to start with the need for it, then tell them about the product itself, how it works, the competition with, what people have said about it, and why you believe it’s going to be successful.

* Probably the most familiar structure is Past, Present, Future. If you’re giving a project report, for example, you could describe where the project started (Past), where it is now (Present) and where it’s headed and what needs to be done for it to be completed (Future). You could present these three ideas in any order and it will still make sense, though you’ll usually want to finish with the Future.

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