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How to Structure Your Presentation in 5 Simple Steps

What is the one thing that all memorable and successful presentations have in common and presentation designers always try to implement? To take their audience on a journey!

It doesn’t matter how many charts or facts you need to include in your presentation; integrating your content into an engaging and enjoyable journey will ensure your audience remains focused and engaged with your content.

Structuring important data in a clear and concise journey is a well-known technique in the world of public speaking and is commonplace in company sales pitches or motivational talks.

This article will focus on five ways you can structure your presentation to ensure your audience remains engaged with your content until the end of your presentation.

Planning Your Presentation Structure

When you start planning your presentation, you need to take is to brainstorm your ideas and start to form them into a rough draft of how your presentation is going to look.

Before starting this brainstorming, the first thing to do is to identify your message for this project.

The Message

What are you trying to convey to your audience with your presentation?

An excellent starting point is to consider whether your presentation will be entertaining, inspiring, persuasive, or informative.

If you are presenting in a business setting, you likely want to ensure your presentation informs and persuades. If you are presenting at a conference, you may choose to try and entertain and inspire.

Whatever you decide, the main message must be easily understood from the title slide alone. Consider a word or sentence that will give your audience clarity on what they are about to experience with your presentation?

Of course, you can change this at any time as your presentation develops, but having this preliminary title page allows you to structure your ideas of what comes next.

5 Ways to Structure Your Presentation

Now that you have implemented your brainstorming process and have a rough draft of the content you want to include, it’s time to structure your presentation.

All the information you have collected within your rough draft can now get tweaked to suit the style of structure you choose.

Here are five different structure styles you can use for your next presentation. Each has a slightly different delivery style and cadence, and what works for you depends on your audience.

1. The Fact and Story

A presentation using this structure moves from facts to stories to keep the audience engaged. It focuses on the present reality and what it could be in the future.

Start by painting a picture of the audience’s current world, and use the presentation to show how this could be changed and improved, then finish with your call to action.

2. The Explanation

The second option on this list gets referred to as The Explanation structure. This structure is designed to teach new abilities and insights. The main purpose of the Explanation presentation structure is to inform your audience about a plan or process to fix a problem or learn a new skill.

Start by highlighting your current position, then outline your roadmap, what steps you need to take, and what the end goal looks like.

3. The Pitch

Next, we have The Pitch structure. This structure is perfect for when you have an idea that can improve a situation. The best way to think about this structure is to see it as a steep climb to the top of a hill, reach a positive resolution at the top, and come back down the hill.

Start by highlighting the current scenario and issue you face and the potential issues that occur from this.

Then, highlight your solution to this issue and how it can lead to many benefits in the future.

4. The Drama

Another structure you can try and emulate is the Drama structure. This presentation type is based on creating an emotional response to your presentation and often follows the plight of the main character within the presentation.

Start your story laying out who your main character is and what they look like, then the problem they are suddenly hit with and cannot be avoided.

From there, the next few slides highlight the descending crisis as it reaches rock bottom. Just as your audience believes there is no hope, add slides that show the main character overcoming these problems and becoming a better person for the information they have gained.

5. The Situation, Complication, and Resolution

Finally, we have the Situation, Complication, and Resolution structure. This structure is most common in business consultancy or B2B sales and is based and three main elements.

This structure starts by highlighting what is happening now in an unbiased way. It then focuses on the challenges ahead, using data where possible to back up this claim. This section highlights potential issues and adds tension for the audience. Finally, a solution or product gets proposed to meet these challenges in the resolution section of the presentation.

The founder and CEO at ThriveVerge, The Verge, and Thrive Revolution. He launched Thriveverge in 2016, a leading behavior change technology, business, media, and entertainment company with the mission of ending the collective delusion that burning out is the price we have to pay for success.


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