Business presentations are never the easiest piece of work to put together. Finding the balance between including all the information you need without boring your audience is always a challenge. Here are a few ways in which you can structure a great business presentation to keep your audience engaged and cover all the information you need.
Laying the foundation
To begin with, it is easier to separate the elements that you would like to present before you start building your business presentation. One way which you can do this is to brainstorm your ideas and put them together into a rough draft. However, always remember and consider the message you want to relay to your audience through your presentation, what is it that you are trying to say?
At this stage, look at the bigger picture. When recommending a particular strategy, don’t just tie it to the goals and objectives. Consider taking a step back and think about how it fits with the overall vision of what you are trying to achieve. Adopt a strategic hat while you are crafting your message so you don’t miss that crucial part in implementing and delivering your message clearly. Start by talking about the vision, goals, and objectives, explain why the current situation is not aligned with them, outline for consideration the available options and make the recommendation finally ending with a call to action. Once you have done so, you can begin to pull together the resources that you will need to put the presentation together.
Greet & Introduce
Before you begin your talk, it is important to introduce yourself to the audience. This does not need to be long or detailed, but what it will do is help build an immediate relationship between you and your audience. It offers you the opportunity to briefly clarify your expertise and position.
Don’t bore your audience with a long introduction as getting people’s attention during the presentation would become even more challenging.
As the introduction is the first area of exploration in a presentation, it is important to explain the subject and purpose of your presentation clearly. Here you will introduce your general topic and explain your topic area briefly. Begin by stating the issues and challenges in the area you will be exploring and the purpose of your presentation. Explain how the topic will be treated and provide a statement of what you’re hoping the outcome will be.
Show a preview slide of the structure of your presentation which will indicate the journey you will be taking your audience on. Explain the length of the talk and if you are happy to take questions throughout the presentation or are conducting a Q&A at the end. If it applies, inform the audience whether to take notes or whether you will be providing handouts of the presentation at the end. It would be good to keep in mind that the main aim of the introduction is to grab the audience’s attention and connect with them.
The main body of the presentation
The main body of the presentation will need to meet the structure promises that were made in the introduction. Clearly segment the different topics you will be discussing, and then work your way through them one at a time. It is important for everything to be organized logically for the audience to fully understand and follow it. It would be good to address the main points one by one with supporting evidence and examples.
Before moving on to the next point, provide a mini-summary of what you have just discussed. Links between ideas should be clear and you must make it clear when you’re moving onto the next point. Give your audience time to take relevant notes and stick to the topics you have prepared beforehand rather than straying off topic.
When planning your presentation make a list of main points you would explore in your presentation. Ask yourself “What I am trying to tell my audience? What should they understand?”. By clarifying your answers to these questions, you will produce clear messages for your audience.
It could be worth applying the 10/20/30 rule to your presentation, which was brought to the world by a marketing guru Guy Kawasaki.
The purpose of the rule is to 10 slides, spend 20 minutes presenting and featuring a font size of 30 points. He says that “the majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.”
The conclusion is the best place to recap and reinforce your message. Typically, presentations have a specific goal. Regardless of what that goal is, summarise your main points and their implications, indicate what to do next and suggest a call to action. This makes the overall purpose of your talk more transparent and supports your reason for being there.
Thank the audience and Q & A
Conclude your talk by thanking the audience for their time and invite them to ask any questions they may have. Prepare yourself in advance for any questions you think your audience may ask by understanding the purpose, message, and call to action of your own presentation clearly to better answer any questions. Don’t go crazy with questions. 5-7 questions are more than enough to leave a good impression after the presentation. You may not have the answers to all of the questions, which may question your expertise.