The Best Way to Outline Your Presentation

outlineAn impressive number of people can recite the presentation advice: “Tell them what you are going to say. Say it. Tell them what you just said.”

You know it. I know it.  Yet, few people actually embrace this presentation technique.

Why? Is it too predictable? Too boring? Personally, I think that this beloved approach to presentation organization is like a valuable diamond – that needs to be polished.

Ensure that the central message of your presentation content sparkles by following this 5-step process:

1. Tease

The Climate: State or tease at the current market/cultural situation.

The Problem: Briefly describe the problem for your business, your competitors and your customers.

The Solution: Tantalize your audience by hinting at your answer to the problem.

2. Unveil the Mystery

The Reason: In 10 seconds or less, state why everyone has gathered to listen to you speak.

The Preview: What are your three main points or “golden nuggets”?

3. Inform & Ignite

The Good Stuff: Relish in the pleasure of watching your audience frantically scribble notes as you dive into the three main points of your presentation.  These three main points are the heart and soul of your presentation. Each main point should be followed with at least three supporting claims.

4. Lock Down

The Review: For the audience members who could not take notes fast enough, and for the other people who simply cannot get enough of your genius insights, review your three main points.

5. Launch

The Call to Action: Now that your audience is hooked on your message, do not leave them hanging.  Give a clear and easy-to-follow call to action.

It is common knowledge that as a presenter you should “Tell them what you are going to say. Say it. Tell them what you just said.” I am guessing that you are not average though, so elevate your message beyond the cliché.

Read More: “Want to be Memorable? It Starts With Your Content”

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki.

10 Responses to “The Best Way to Outline Your Presentation”

  1. Ken

    Great advice, thank you. I’m preparing an important presentation now (the total presentation has to be limited to 5-6 minutes – the worst kind), and I was mashing all the stuff around. I was heading in the direction of the sorts of ideas you’ve given, so it’s good to see that I’m on the right track, but you’ve laid it out sharply and succinctly. Excellent. Thanks.

  2. Livio Aguas

    I like all the 5 steps, but the most important one for me is the fifth, Launch. The best presentation should be the one which leaves the audiance eager to research more about the topic. So the presenter should tell the audience how to fish, and help them to get motivated to start fishing, instead of giving them a fish.
    One million thanks for those wonderful ideas.

  3. dr Jesus aguilar

    my contribution to these article is that a presentation be are adequate at audience, if are basic or very elevate can loose attention .

  4. Arular Kwin

    Plain bullshit. Not that it doesn’t work. People usually love bullshit. But still.

  5. Author, Syed H. Jaffar

    Thanks for sharing the good points. The key is to know your audience and modify your presentation/s accordingly. There is no such thing as they say, “one size that fits all.”

    My success story, if we can say that, at the major corporate levels in the USA/Canada/Caribbeans and during my book presentations has been exactly that. Cheers and thanks!

  6. Nadir Altinbas

    The criteria is that audiences differ from each other by their perception model of a presentation .When the step 3 matters , It should take into account to perceptive case The subject should had organized by perceptive preference of the audiences whether they are well informed with inductive or deductive explanation method.

  7. Magdalena Torres

    Just in time. I am about to get a master degree and my exam is going to be an oral presentation based on a Power Point Presentation. I found this tips extremely useful.