Nowadays, presentations are firmly integrated into not only the academic but also the business world. They’re the perfect means whether you want to pitch your business or new idea, educate your audience, present reports, and the list continues.
The power of a well-made presentation lies in its logical structure and intelligibility. The human brain is much better at retaining structured, organized data — even more so when it’s presented with engaging visuals. Presentations check both boxes.
To ensure a cohesive flow for your presentation and a smooth ride for the audience, you need to prepare a clear, cogent outline for your material. Moreover, structuring information is just as beneficial to the presenter as it is to the audience.
So, if you already have your presentation idea but are unsure of the right next step, a presentation outline is your answer. Once you have a general idea about the topic and have completed basic research, you’re in the perfect position to carve out the skeleton of your talk.
Below, you’ll find the basic structure of a balanced presentation outline as well as useful stats. Stick till the end to discover beautiful presentation templates.
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- Keep it under 5 minutes.
- Introduce yourself, your company, and the topic of discussion.
- Explain the significance and relevance of the topic.
- Specify your approach to the topic. Preview the main points or key idea.
- Make a transition to the main points.
- Main Body
- It’s recommended to have 2-5 main points. Focus on one idea per slide.
- Start each point with an introduction, present it, and conclude.
- Have supporting materials for each point in the form of quotes, testimonials, examples, charts, graphs, and other visuals.
- Connect one point to the next with a transition.
- Keep it under 5 minutes.
- Summarize the topic and what was covered.
- Reiterate the key takeaways.
- End with a persuasive call to action that ties in with the presentation.
- Display your contact details.
- This is optional, but you can set some time aside to answer the audience’s questions.
- Be aware of the length of your answers and the number of questions you choose to address to avoid going over the time limit.
Good to Know
- The average attention span is 15-20 minutes for adults.
- People retain information 40% more accurately when it’s structured.
- 90% of the anxiety we feel before giving a presentation is caused by lack of preparation.
- It usually takes 5 seconds for the audience to determine whether a presenter is charismatic or not.
- 75% of adults are affected by the fear of public speaking.
- People will remember a fact 22 times better when it has been presented through a story.
- 55% of people agree that a compelling story is what holds their attention during a presentation.
- 64% of people confirm an active presentation with two-way interaction is more interesting than a linear presentation.
Before Creating Your Presentation, Consider
- The presentation’s main purpose
- How informed the audience is about the topic
- Time or technical constraints if there are any
Here are a few more tips that will be of help when outlining and designing your presentation. If you’re looking for more presentation tips, check out our article on this topic.
Have a Purpose
Defining your presentation’s purpose is something that should be done before and not after you’ve planned your speech. To make sure that your presentation points build on one another, you need a single well-defined goal to unify them.
When you have a precise target to aim for, you’ll be able to build a much more strategic structure for your speech and the accompanying slides alike (if there’s going to be a slideshow). Knowing your purpose will also assist in specifying your approach to the topic. It could be explanation, analysis, comparison, problem-solving, etc.
Design Slides Smartly
Always keep in mind that slides should only act as a supplement to make the data more vivid but never overpower the speaker. Don’t overload your slides with too much text; otherwise, your audience will have to choose between reading the slides and listening to you.
The 10-20-30 rule of PowerPoint suggests having 10 slides, delivering the presentation in around 20 minutes, and keeping your fonts no smaller than 30 points. Follow these guidelines only as far as they make sense for your pitch.
You can create attractive presentations and slideshows with customizable templates that take no longer than a few minutes to edit. Here are a few examples; find more templates here.
Think of a presentation outline as the spine that holds your pitch together from its starting point to the very end. An outline provides a solid structure to your material, making the information much easier to grasp and memorize.
Begin your talk with an introduction to yourself and the topic, cover the main points one by one, and weave all the strands together with a brief conclusion. If appropriate, set a certain amount of time aside after the presentation to answer your listeners’ questions. Best of luck!