Many people struggle with creating compelling presentations that will inspire their audiences. When I present, I follow a simple structure that I’m going to share with you today. Here’s a key thought for you to keep in mind: the simpler, the better. Your audience wants to be able to follow along and engage with what you’re saying, but they won’t be able to if you’re saying it in a way that they can’t understand or in a structure that doesn’t flow.

So, here we go! Here are my top tips for how you can structure your presentation to WOW your next audience:

1. The Hook

You should always aim to open with a hook to draw your audience in. Your hook should be something that’s interesting and relevant so that you can capture attention. For example, try sharing a compelling story from your own life. Or, provide some data and statistics about a major issue you’re talking about during your presentation so that they know why it’s important that they listen to you.

2. The Opening

Use this section of your presentation to generate interest about what is to come. In order for your audience to stay tuned into you, they’ll need to know that what you’re going to say will be important and relevant to them. So, tell them what you’re going to tell them during your presentation and build interest by connecting the dots and proving why they should care. You can also use this section to build rapport, which could mean asking simple questions that allow audience members to tell you what’s important to them, what they want to get out of this talk, and what they care about. This will allow you to cater certain sections of your presentation and deliver a more impactful message!

3. The Body

This is where you tell them what you said you’d tell them. The best advice that I can give you is to have a key message and keep wrapping your main points back to it to show relevancy and encourage learning. Here are some more tips on how to make the meat of your presentation stand out so that your audience keeps listening:

  • Provide facts or examples to add credibility
  • Tell stories that your audience can relate to
  • Ask questions, even if they’re rhetorical, so that your audience feels like they’re with you and participating
  • Add humour and sarcastic comments to get people loosened up and laughing!

4. The Conclusion

This is your chance to tell them what you told them, tie together lose ends, and review key messages. You should try to pick 3-5 important points that you discussed during your presentation and bring them up again to really drive home the meaning of your talk. Finally, leave your audience with a call to action. I see that many people forget to include this, and as a result their conclusion is weaker than it could be. A call to action could mean saying any of these to your audience: “What are you going to do when you leave here?”, “What are you taking away from this presentation?” or “I challenge you to….” Leaving your audience with a call to action can add another dimension to your presentation: not only did you teach them important lessons, you also promoted them to apply their learning to their real life immediately. They’ll remember you for it.

Tell me about some of your presentation stories in the comments section! What made it good? Bad? Ugly? I want to hear it all!