Organizing the Presentation

Organize the content of your presentation in a logical sequence based on the outline you prepared. No matter how you decide to organize your presentation, keep the audience engaged to better help them remember the content. You can do this by asking them questions or having them share experiences related to the topic.

The Beginning of the Presentation

The beginning of your presentation sets the tone for the rest of the talk, so it is important to impress your audience with your approach, style and topic. Begin the presentation with something that attracts the audience’s attention, but keep it relevant to the topic and avoid jokes or irrelevant comments that could be misunderstood by the audience, especially if you are not familiar with the audience.

You can begin with an important statistic relevant to the topic, or a quote, or ask a question that interests the audience in the topic. For example, if the focus of your presentation is about environmental pollution by household activities, a simple question to interest the audience in your presentation could be "Does anyone know how many drops of drinking water are polluted by one drop of motor oil?" If anyone in the audience knows the correct answer, acknowledge that individual and ask how many of them knew that as well. Otherwise, give the answer, and begin your presentation.

Rule to Remember

Develop the beginning of your presentation after you develop the body of the presentation.

The Body of the Presentation

Begin planning the body of your presentation first. Once you have developed this part of the presentation, the beginning and end will fall into place.

You can order the main points of each section of your presentation as outlined in one of several ways depending on the nature of the presentation. Some possible orders of points include the following, though there can be others, depending on the topic and/or discipline:

  • Spatial order – suitable for describing a layout or a process, from the beginning or entry point, to the end or exit.
  • Chronological order – suitable for discussing literature review by years, or for describing the steps for doing something.
  • Causal order – suitable for explaining causes and their effects. For example, how lack of sleep impacts worker productivity and safety.
  • Topical order – suitable for presenting on different topics in a field such as different types of problem-solving techniques.
  • Problem–Solution order – suitable for describing a particular problem and how it can be solved.

Choose the order suitable for covering the main points of your presentation for the particular section of the outline.

The End of the Presentation

End the presentation by reiterating the purpose of the presentation, summarizing the major points, and concluding with a quote, remark or fact that the audience will remember.

Missing Conclusion - Example 1

Missing Conclusion - Example 2

These video clips are examples of a presenter transitioning from the body of the presentation to Q&A without a proper conclusion section.

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