How to make a presentation is almost a science. A good presentation structure brings clarity and helps to keep your crowd’s attention. Think about your structure and make it as logical as possible. An often heard saying about the structure of a presentation is: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them”.
A good presentation consists of 3 main parts:
- The message
How to make a presentation introduction
Having a solid introduction is very important. The first minutes of your presentation the crowd will decide if this presentation is interesting for them. In general people unfortunately do not have a large attention span so you have to grab their attention immediately at the start or they will simply “tune out” and don’t pay attention anymore.
Start with a short and light introduction of yourself but don’t make it more than one or two sentences:
Good Morning everybody, my name is Bob and I’m going to tell you how to give the perfect presentations
Don’t elaborate on yourself here, if you want to tell more about yourself you can do that later but the start should be about your topic, this is what the presentation is about after all.
Next and this is the most important part of an introduction and arguably even the most important part of the presentation: Grabbing the interest of the crowd!
There are several ways to do this:
Engagement of the crowd:
Raise your hand if you have ever given a presentation in front of a large crowd?
Telling interesting facts:
Did you know that public speaking is ranked as the first and foremost fear in numerous scientific researches towards anxiety? It even outranks fear of death, which interestingly enough means that people at a funeral would rather be the deceased than give the eulogy
Giving interesting quotes:
At a funeral most people would rather lie in the casket than give the eulogy”(Jerry Seinfeld, 1992)
Many are ready to even die in battle, but few can face an assembly without nerves.” (Thiruvalluvar in the ancient Tamil work of Thirukkural written around 100BC)
In short creativity is key. Try to be original, if you stimulate your audience they’ll reward you with their attention.
Next you want to tell them what you are going to tell them. You are allowed to boast! After all if you don’t believe in it how can you convince other people to? Don’t overdo it though, it has to be believable, not ridiculous:
I’m going to show you how to give the perfect presentation. My presentation contains all the aspects the perfect presentation should have. I have included a positive introduction, a middle section to elaborate on the details about what key factors a strong presentation should contain and in the conclusion I’ll show you that all these factors were incorporated successfully in the presentation I just gave.
If you want to tell a bit more about yourself the time is now, although most of the time this is not very interesting to a crowd it can be useful in some cases. If you do try to wrap this in a personal anecdote to spice it up a bit for your crowd:
I still remember the first time I gave a presentation like it was yesterday. It was on my high school when I was 16 and I was so nervous, I even cried before on the toilet. When presenting my mouth was so dry I could barely speak and I was speeding through slides like crazy hoping to finish the presentation as soons as possible so I could go back to my desk. Needless to say I failed miserably in getting my point across and afterwards I felt like a “douche”. So that night when I was lying awake in bed I figured this is not how I want to feel, so I decided to start studying the psychology behind presentations. I’ve been doing this for more than 25 years now and I designed multiple workshops and lectures on how to present and now after more than 25 years of experience i’m convinced I can show you all how to give the perfect presentation
Take note of the personal touch in this text. You show your crowd that you have emotions and that you are a human being just as they are. You were scared and felt awkward as well but you got where you are now by practicing and studying.
A story like this is not necessary for every presentation and if you don’t have the time then leave it out, just make sure you don’t end up in listing your credentials for minutes because in that way for sure you won’t be able to keep the attention of the crowd.
As final part of the introduction you can tell the audience what they need to do e.g.:
Please feel free to interrupt me for questions
Please save your questions until the end of the presentation
(For large audiences it is generally better to save the questions for the end of the presentation)
Look carefully at my gestures and paralanguage during the presentation, since these are very important presentation skills
Write down what you think is the most applicable advice for you, I will ask several of you at the end to explain
How to make a presentation message
The middle part of the presentation is all about the message you want to bring across to to your crowd. This is the technical stuff and to make sure it does not get boring you should be as brief as possible and use as many visual aids as you can.
So how to make a presentation message? First of all show graphs and charts rather than plain numbers and try to only focus on the most important elements. To do this you should first make a brief summary of what you want to explain. What are the key points you need to prove your conclusion? Focus on them and only on them. If you did more than 25 years of research on presentations you cannot explain everything you’ve researched. You just want to give the highlights.
Also make sure not to put too much information on slides. Since this is information you want your crowd to remember you don’t want to give them so much information that they can’t process it all. So keywords here are: Be brief, to the point and focus!
How to make a presentation conclusion
In the conclusion of a presentation you should give a short summary of what you told people throughout the presentation and linking this to the final conclusion.
A conclusion itself should consist of only one sentence(you can have more conclusions but don’t overdo it). You’ve explained everything before so you can be very short now. Due to the presentation you gave, people should be able to understand the conclusion without a lot of elaboration. If you use slides then use a single slide for your conclusion(s). This is important and you want the attention of your audience to be completely on the conclusion(s) itself.
After the conclusion you can give recommendations for what happens next. E.g. Tell people to contact you personally if they are interested in the subject or give recommendations for further research.
At the very end of the presentation you should come up with a fitting close. Keep in mind that this is the last thing people will see and they are most likely to remember this[???cit]. Try to be original again like in the introduction, use a quote or image which will stick in peoples minds. For the previously mentioned perfect presentation you could say something like:
Remember, nobody cares how you feel, it’s about how the crowd feels when you tell them!
Something like this is bound to stick in peoples minds and it makes them think about the presentation for a while after it is done. This will help to settle the information you have presented in the mind of the crowd.
Even better would be to link back to something in the introduction of the presentation, like:
Remember that most people would prefer to lie in the casket instead of give the eulogy? Apply what you learned today and surely you are not most people anymore!”
A presentation ending phrase should be short and to the point as well. People should be able to remember it. It should stick in their minds like glue. Think about Barack Obama with “Yes we can”. Everybody is able to remember it and that was exactly the point.
Now that you know how to make a presentation you can check out related pages below or go to the webshop and buy our exclusive Presentation Simulator VR-app and start practicing for a realistic VR-audience:
Disclaimer: the presentation simulation software is developed based on scientific background, but every person reacts differently so no rights can be reserved on the effectiveness of the software.