3 Elements Every Presentation Should Include

Every presentation is unique.  The audience, the message, the tone.  However, your job as the presenter is to neatly package up your story and present it in a way that provides direction and key messages in a consistent fashion. Even though multiple variables come into play when delivering a presentation, but there are three elements that should be included in all your future presentations that will help tie your message together and keep your audience attentive.

Below, I highlight three elements I include in all my presentations, and where I recommend you place them for maximum effectiveness.  Of course, as I noted above, every presentation is unique, so you will want to adjust where necessary. If you have a specific question about how to place these in your presentation, you can drop me an email and ask there, or purchase a private coaching session.

1. Start your presentation by giving away the ending

After a brief introduction and acknowledgement of your audience’s attendance and attention, it is important to deliver the final result of what your presentation is about.  Give your audience a strong line that delivers what they will learn from your presentation, even if it feels like you are spoiling the ending.

Doing this helps achieve one of the most important (and difficult) elements of a presentation… getting the audience’s attention.  What you are doing is marking the finish line for your idea, or the solution to the problem you are solving. This allows your audience to draw connections throughout the journey of your presentation, instead of having to feel like they are trying to solve a mystery and have to wait until the end to learn how it all ends.

Because TV and movies are presentations made for entertainment value, I like to make comparisons to them every so often.  Fans of the popular television show Breaking Bad will recall that each episode started with an intro sequence that showed some result of a future event, an event that we had not seen yet, but now knew we would find out.  As a viewer, you had no idea how that future event occurred, but you learned along the way by watching the show and tying the events together. (Here is an example of one of the best Breaking Bad episode intros, which was confusing and exciting for us fans of the show at the time!) Your presentation is no different. After delivering the key point and telling them what they are going to learn, you can then set up the path for how you are going to explain how you got to your findings.

So go ahead, spoil the ending. Your audience will appreciate you for it.

2. Tell your audience something they don’t know

While many presentation speakers focus on building an amazing looking slide deck, or practicing their delivery, I believe the best presenters spend most of their time on one key element - a fact or datapoint that no one else in the room knows.  This doesn't mean you have to be the smartest one in the room, it just means you have to find a creative way to introduce an idea or piece of data that unlocks an insight related to your overarching theme. Your audience will appreciate the value they get from walking out of your presentation feeling just a little bit smarter.

One of my go-to suggestions for this is for presenters is to find two pieces of information that have either a positive or negative correlation to each other.  Overlaying those pieces of data can offer a new perspective on an old idea or put a new spin on data that is sometimes only looked at one-way.

As you make your way through the journey of your presentation, you want to try and introduce these one or two facts or findings that are completely new to your audience.  These can be anywhere in the body of your presentation, but just make sure not to forget them.

3. Give your audience something they can apply to their work immediately

Individuals who attend conferences want to walk out with two things: 1) strong new industry connections and 2) tangible next steps they can take to improve their work and/or business.  Unfortunately the latter is something that seems to get missed a lot of the time. Most presentations, even the best ones I have ever seen or watched, miss this element. Your audience is super hungry for new things to try, so go ahead and give them an assignment or something they can use right away.

For example, at the end of a presentation I gave recently, I provided everyone in the audience a template they could use in Google Sheets to build their own version of what I had presented, as well as a link to a Chrome browser extension to help get the data they would need to fill out the template.  An individual attending my presentation could have easily opened up their laptop and been working on my suggestion within minutes. Audiences are looking for immediate gratification, so make sure to give them something they can use right away.

This element should be at the very end of your presentation, right before your closing.

Like a good story, a presentation needs good anchor elements

A presentation is created like a good story. It has a catchy introduction, a meaty middle portion, and a finish that makes you want to go out and get some more! Above I highlighted the three elements every presentation should include:

  1. Start your presentation by delivering the conclusion

  2. During the body of your presentation, deliver new information from your research

  3. End your presentation by giving your audience something they can apply to their work/business immediately

Presentations can be stressful to prepare for, so you can rest easy knowing that I am hear to help. I offer presentation coaching services where I can help you with everything from preparing your presentation deck to tips on how to deliver the actual presentation. Let’s get started today! Click here to send me message and together we will make sure you rock your next presentation!