How to Design a Presentation

Think of a presentation in terms of a journey; designed to take an audience to a pre-planned destination. Use this analogy to identify the key points of your message, prioritize them and allocate each one an appropriate time slot.
There is a simple structure into which nearly all presentations should fit. This comprises three clearly identifiable parts – an introduction, followed by a main body and finally a conclusion.
This is often expressed as:
1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them,
2. Tell them,
3. Tell them what you’ve told them.
A good guide for the breakdown of a presentation is the 10/80/10 rule – whereby the introduction and conclusion are each allotted 10% of the presentation time, with the main body comprising 80%. For example, a 30 minute presentation would have a 3 minute introduction and conclusion and main body lasting 24 minutes.
This formula can be applied to any length of presentation – as it reflects a good breakdown from the audience’ perspective. In researching and collating the material that you need and devising your key points you will have been concentrating on the main content of your presentation.
This is fine, as the most effective and efficient way to prepare your presentation is to construct it in the following order;
Main Body, Introduction, then the Conclusion. It is usually best to plan your presentation to have a question and answer session at the end. This will enable you to deliver your message and then end strongly with a clear and concise conclusion, before entering the relatively unpredictable area of tackling questions from the floor.
Identifying Key Points
In structuring your presentation you may find it useful to divide your journey into a series of stages. You are then faced with the challenge of deciding how many stages there should be and what should constitute a stage. It was also recommended that you should look at your aim statement and try to develop between three and five key points that you would like to drive home. This represents as much information as most people are able to take away from a presentation.
These key point messages can be considered as the intended destination for each stage of your journey. In other words key points are synonymous with stages in the same way that the aim statement is synonymous with the destination. If you are working in a familiar subject domain the key points may well be apparent; but what if the subject isn’t familiar and the key points are not self-evident? So follow my blog for more.