Perfectly designed PowerPoint slides with integrated videos, animations and graphics, are nowadays part of the common requirements for a successful presentation. The presenter should also be confident and rhetorically adept in speaking about the presentation topic. However, mistakes are still often made in the outline, which can quickly ruin the result. Today we’re talking about the 5 crucial basic elements on which a really good PowerPoint presentation is built.
All bestsellers are based on a basic framework that carries the entire story. There is a course of action that follows certain regularities. The whole story is usually based on certain patterns that have worked for millennia in storytelling. That’s why it’s rather unusual to find out who the murderer is on the very first page of a mystery novel. Successful books or movies have a recognizable end to the story and don’t just stop. So there are laws of success that better not be violated. Your presentation is also a story, your story. Therefore, you need to consider certain basic elements if you want to present successfully.
The basic elements of a presentation
Each presentation should begin with an introduction, then move to a main section, and end with a conclusion. This seems trivial at first, but unfortunately this simple basic structure is not always addressed. But if you use the five basic elements I’m about to introduce for your presentation, you’ll have a portable framework that will safely carry your information and message.
The introductory part
The introduction has the task of picking up your audience and preparing them for the content of the presentation. Here you have the opportunity to build attention and interest for the main part and pass on initial basic information. The invitation can be divided into three parts: The initial situation, the problem, the question or thesis.
If you want to learn more about introducing yourself in a presentation, read our blog post The 12 Most Successful Introductions for Presentations.
After the welcome, you describe the current situation in your subject area. For this purpose, you can refer to current information from the media, for example. Here you can already achieve a broad consensus with your audience. If you were speaking to representatives of the automotive industry, for example, you could say: “The automotive industry is in a deep crisis with no end in sight. The loss of confidence on the one hand and policy interventions on the other have led to deep slumps.”
After presenting the current situation, bring up the main problem or problems you want to look at in more detail. The actual situation leads to a problem. “The internal combustion engine is currently the subject of criticism. But alternatives, such as the electric vehicle, harbor many risks for Germany as a business location and for employees in the automotive industry. Experts give German car producers only a 50:50 chance of survival.”
The question or thesis:
Now you can make a connection with the main part of your presentation by asking a question, or formulating a thesis: “How can the jobs of the approximately 800,000 employees in the automotive industry be sustainably secured? How this is possible, I would like to present to you this evening”. Or: “Today I will explain to you how German industry can emerge stronger from this crisis and even generate growth.” In the main part, you then have to prove your theses or answer the questions you have asked. The better or more interesting you make this part, the higher will be the attention and interest in your further explanations. You can use the question/thesis to build tension.
There are, of course, variants to this outline. Some speakers take a more direct approach to the presentation and omit the starting point. They achieve attention by directly addressing the problem: “Ladies and gentlemen, if the framework conditions do not change drastically in the coming years, no more cars will be built in Germany in ten years.”
It is important in the introductory phase to make your audience curious about the main part.
The main part
The main part contains the full range of information, facts, contexts, ideas and approaches to the presentation. This main part takes up about 70% of the presentation. This is about convincing your audience of your messages. The individual elements should be well structured and logically build on each other.
The final part
In the closing section, you have the chance to summarize your most important messages again. What do you want your viewers to take away as the most important piece of information? This information must be placed here again. What do you want your audience to do in the future after the presentation? Usually, we want the mindset of the audience to change, to act in a certain way, for example, to buy something. You should make a clear call to action to your audience at the end of your presentation. This is called a call-to-action. Of course, at the end of a good PowerPoint presentation, there should also be room for questions from the auditorium.
A good PowerPoint presentation leads the audience into the topic through the introduction and escorts them back out into life elegantly and effectively through the closing section. Ideally, after the presentation, the audience will think and act the way you wanted them to.
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