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Good presenting starts with great structure

How you structure your presentation will decide whether you lose your audience or keep them with you each step of the way.

One of the biggest errors seen in presenting - or any form of communication for that matter - is a lack of structure to what is being said.

Unlike writing, speech affords no option to pause, go back and "read again". That means it is much more likely you will lose your audience if you do not carefully curate the building blocks of your speech.

Here are three ways to improve your structure when presenting in both formal and informal settings.

1. Signpost up front

One of the biggest mistakes made is a lack of direction at the start of a presentation or speech. Tell your audience up front what you are going to cover. Show them the end-to-end journey before you take them through it. Think of this as the contents page to your book. You need your audience to know what they are getting into from the offset.

2. Embed mini-summaries

Excellent presenters make sure to recap to the audience what they have covered during their presentation, rather than waiting right until the end. Before you move from one subject to the next, summarise the key points you have covered and then move on. This will prevent your audience from forgetting what you say early on.

3. Practice ABC, 1,2,3

Artistotle's famous "rule of three" in writing, also applies to presenting. Where possible, consider using 3 key themes or topics in your speech and chunking your content by using A, B and C or 1, 2 and 3.

For example: "There were 3 key results of the programme: A) Increased returns for the company, B) better employee retention and C) increased brand recognition in the market. I now want to explore each of these more deeply with you. Turing first to A..."

There are many more ways you can incorporate excellent structure into your presentation and by doing so become a better communicator. Get in touch if you want to learn more and we will be happy to listen to your needs.


HelpMePresent is the tutoring of presenting. We offer 1-1, flexible, accessible sessions that can be easily booked, including packages specifically for women and international speakers. Click to book now.

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