Presentation structure

by Peter Watts

Effective presentations have an architecture that makes them into identifiable structures, and without which they are little more than jumbles of random facts and anecdotes.

When presenting, our message must be mounted into an organizing framework that places its content squarely before the audience. Our tool for making that happen is structure.

At it’s simplest, structure is defined as being “The Three Tell ‘Ems”:

  • Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em
  • Tell ‘em
  • Tell ‘em what you told ‘em

This is achieved by:

An introduction that provides a clear skeleton of the presentation:

  • what you are going to say
  • the sequence in which you are going to say it
  • why you are going to say it
  • how long it’s going to take you

A middle section that puts flesh on that skeleton while delivering the information you promised to deliver and in the sequence in which you promised to deliver it.

A conclusion re-emphasizing the key points that have shaped your argument.

Each of these three phases of structure has it’s own subtleties, not just in terms of the information to be included, but also the best way in which to express that information. Over the next three weeks, we’ll examine each of these three phases in turn, establishing how to create presentation structures that clearly communicate what you want to say.

Next Week: Introductions


  1. Nice article and certified 100% free of sales bull$#it!

    Keep in touch

    • Hi TC. Thanks for your comment and good to know you liked the article. I hope you’ll enjoy the next few posts that’ll put a little more detail onto each of those three stages.

      If there’s anything in particular that you’d like to see covered on The Presenters’ Blog, do let me know. Suggestions are always welcome!

      All best regards

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