What are the different stages of a presentation?

What are the different stages of a presentation?

We often talk about three being the magic number, so you won’t be surprised to learn that there are three stages of a presentation – the beginning, the middle and the end. But you know that already, right? What you may not know though are the stages within each of those three sections and the key things to get right as you go through each stage.

That’s why, in our book “High-Performance Presentations”, we have outlined our unique Simply Amazing Structure (SAS) to help guide you through all the stages of a presentation whether it’s virtual or face to face.

Why is structure more important for Virtual Presenting?

By now most of us are aware that we need to adapt to a virtual environment. But how does that effect the structure of our presentations? A presenter should be clear with how they allocate time for interactions during a virtual presentation (we recommend interaction every 3-5 minutes)

This is because during a virtual call the audience are more likely to get distracted and can lose interest. Therefore, keeping to a structure can help guide the audience, helping them to remain engaged and on track. A good structure will allow the audience to view the presentation as a journey and enable them to feel a sense of progression from the beginning to the end. For more information on how to keep your audience engaged during a virtual presentation click here.

Beginning of a presentation

The beginning of a presentation contains two parts of our SAS – a little introduction and the WHY. These two sections don’t need to take up much time – in fact, we often suggest they don’t! When you include these the audience will know why your presentation is relevant to them and why they want to listen to it all the way through.

There is more detail on the two beginning sections in the blog “How to start a good presentation” So we’ll share our top 3 tips here then focus on the middle and end sections.

  • AVOID making your beginning too long – people want to get on with the benefits of listening.
  • AVOID being ‘you’ focussed – people don’t want to know all about your credentials (yet)
  • AVOID looking nervous, worried or shifty, or the audience will wonder what you are hiding or what they need to be worried about!

For tips on overcoming your nerves before a presentation click here.

If you are worried about boring your audience in a virtual environment before you’ve even begun, click here for more help and advice.

Middle of a presentation

The bulk of the presentation time is likely to be spent in the middle section. In our unique SAS structure, the two sections we cover in the middle are the

  • WHAT section, which includes the information, data and facts – it’s the main points, argument or idea.
  • HOW section, which covers the next steps or actions you want the audience to take.

Scope out what you want to put in each WHAT section big picture, don’t go into detail yet until you have finished the whole SAS plan. In our book “High-Performance Presentations”, you’ll see that I recommend you complete the HOW before the WHAT when you are preparing the presentation. But, for now, let’s keep it simple and stick to the order in which we present the information.

The WHAT section

  • Divide the section into three parts (possibly the beginning, middle and end) and if you need to subdivide further then create three branches.
  • Before going into your wonderful solution/answer/product, make sure you first set up the problem/question/need in the audience’s mind.
  • Remember to include facts and figures plus emotional stories and consider what visuals will be effective.

The HOW section

  • List between 3 and 7 steps you want the audience to take as a result of your presentation – this may be things like completing a form, booking an appointment or buying a service/product.
  • A poor HOW section may be why you are not be getting the results you want – if you haven’t directly asked or made clear what you want!
  • Remember, don’t ask for too much too soon, you may need to make a series of presentations over time to get to your final goal.

End of a presentation

Using the SAS, the end of the presentation contains:

  • Questions – an opportunity for the audience to ask any questions, not just those they may have asked throughout the presentation, but ones about wider topics too.
  • Thoughts – this is where instead of avoiding discussion, you encourage it so that you get to understand any objections or concerns in the room.
  • Wrap up – once all questions and thoughts have been covered, it’s time to wrap up the presentation reminding them why they should take the actions you suggested (in the HOW section).

In our presentation skills training course, Present Like A Pro, we go through this SAS structure with you, either on a one-to-one basis or with your team.

We will walk you through how to apply it to your presentation and business. So, if you want to learn more about how to influence, engage and persuade when presenting contact us at info@simplyamazingtraining.co.uk.




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Dee Clayton

Posted by Dee Clayton on 29 Oct 2019

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