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Some of the common questions we get asked in our presentation skills training course are around presentation structure. Understanding how to structure a presentation can be the difference between it being successful and not.
A lot of people, in our view anyway, overcomplicate the structure of their presentation. The more complicated the presentation structure, the more the presenter has to do and the more information they need to remember.
One of the simpler presentation structures is a structure called newsreader style.
Set out like a news programme, the newsreader presentation structure suggests that a presentation has 3 key parts. These are essentially a beginning, middle and end. In this structure, we describe these parts as:
A news programme always starts with the newsreader running through the headlines. This lets the audience know what is coming up in the programme and in what order. The headlines don't give too much away about the story but provide just enough to pique the interest of the audience.
When designing your presentation following the newsreader style presentation structure, we do something similar. The first part of our presentation should ensure that the audience knows what is coming up and in what order.
In the case of your presentation, that audience wants to know why they are there and what are they going to take away from attending your presentation.
The start of your presentation should instantly engage the audience and help them to understand why they should listen. A great way to structure your presentation is to use a technique called INTRO. You can find out more about INTRO by reading the article How to Start a Presentation - the INTRO Model on skilliki.com.
The first part of your presentation should cover:
The second part of a news programme is where they go through each story in turn. This follows the same order of the headlines. You typically find that the first stories get more air time than the last. This is because they are seen to be the more important stories.
When designing your presentation using the newsreader style presentation structure, you could do the same. Give more airtime to your more important subjects and less to those that are deemed not as important.
That said, as a rule of thumb, if something isn't important, it shouldn't be in your presentation!
This stage of the presentation is where all of the knowledge, information, learning and actions come from so be sure to allocate enough time to this stage of your presentation to cover everything you need to cover.
If you are covering more than one subject in your presentation, make sure there is a break between subjects to let the audience know you are moving on. This might be a title slide or you clearly stating that this is the end of one subject and you are now moving on to another.
In most news programmes, once all of the stories have been covered, the newsreader will then run back through the headlines.
When designing your presentation using the newsreader style presentation structure you should do the same. The final stage of your presentation is about re-iterating the important points that you want the audience to remember.
This isn't just about summarizing your content. This is hammering home the important points. If you imagine yourself saying "if there are 5 things you remember from this presentation, make sure they are these 5 things". What would those things be?
Make sure that the audience has actions or they understand what they have learnt from your presentation.
Finally, at the end of your presentation, you should recover your objectives to demonstrate how you have met them.
You can learn more about the newsreader style presentation structure and lots of other hints and tips bout delivering effective presentations by attending our Presentation Skills Training Course.