Presentation Structure

What kind of story structure does your presentation follow?

The normal high-school format is pretty simple: introduction, main points 1, 2, and 3, and conclusion.  But, there are more interesting ways to structure your presentation.

The Hook

Your opening needs a story, an interesting fact, or a surprising tidbet.  Essentially, you need to engage the audience’s interest.  Then, explain why the audience should care about your presentation.

Some ideas:

  • Ask the audience a question.  Do they know about an interesting fact?  How many of them have run into a problem? How many of them could benefit from something you know?
  • Tell an interesting anecdote.
  • Mention an interesting fact that will surprise them.

Before continuing, be sure that you’ve done the following:

  • Introduced yourself and your team.
  • Set out your overall thesis.
  • Explain why the audience should care about your presentation.

The Middle

There are a number of ways you can structure the middle of your presentation. Here are some options.

Comparison of Approaches

  • Problem explanation
  • Solution A, its benefits, and its limitations.
  • Solution B, its benefits, and its limitations
  • Selection of best solution to problem

Explanation

  • Here’s an interesting idea, thought, project, plan, or company.
  • Element A
  • Element B
  • How each of the parts work together

The Business Idea or Pitch

Roughly modified version from Guy Kawasaki

  1. Title / Company
  2. Overview Pitch (30 seconds)
  3. Problem
  4. How your business solves the problem
    1. Why is your business/approach unique?
    2. What advantages do you have?
  5. Competition
  6. Business Model (how will you make money)
  7. Forecast and Milestones
  8. Team

The Conclusion

Have an actual conclusion to your presentation. Wrap up with a summary statement and give some sort of high-level application/conclusion/broad-impact statement. Say ‘thank you’ or ask for questions, not ‘well, that’s all I have!’ or look at the audience blankly.