The Anatomy of a Great Presentation

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My name is Amy, and I am a freelance presentation designer, working in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. My passion is creating branded presentations that represent you as a trusted professional in your industry, strengthen your brand in the marketplace, and engage your audience with an elevated experience that will convert and make them remember you for all the right reasons.

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How do you create an effective presentation that gives your audience the information they need while advancing your company’s goals? Great presentations are organized in a way that tells a story. This story helps keep your audience engaged, and makes it easier for you to get your point across. Use this blog as a general outline to create an effective presentation of your own drawing from these common elements gleaned from what hundreds of effective presentations have in common:

A Great Title

As mentioned above, a great presentation is a story — whether it is the story of your business idea, your company’s growth, a new product, a research paper, etc. And what better way to draw your audience in, than to have a title that grabs the attention. Some ways of coming up with a great title include:

    State the problem you will explore in your presentation as it pertains to your audience
  • Ex., A boring presentation is the result of content your audience doesn’t care about
  • Ask a question
  • Ex., If your presentation is boring, how will you keep your audience’s attention?
  • State the mission of your company/product/research/etc.
  • Ex., This presentation will change your life

Cover

The cover slide should have the amazing title of the presentation, an attractive and colorful background that reflects your branding or the presentation content, the presenter’s name, and the date. This slide should be displayed as people join the meeting. If it’s an online presentation, you can also make a note of when you will be starting. Many presenters wait a couple of extra minutes to allow people to join. It’s best to let people know that so they don’t think they have audio issues.

Introduction

On the introduction slide, give a short bio of the people presenting and their companies. You can also mention what people can expect during the presentation and the objectives. What will they walk away with? Get your audience excited about the upcoming presentation and information.

The Problem

Your audience should have a clear understanding of the problem you are trying to help them solve. They may have a vague understanding of the meeting or webinar description you offered as they signed up, but this is where you create drama and bring them into the presentation by presenting the problem in a way that speaks to their personal needs. Make it clear that they are Luke Skywalker and you are Obi-Wan. You are going to help them solve their problem because they are the hero of this story, and you are their guide. Be empathetic too! Convey that you understand their struggles with this problem. That will make you a likable presenter. You can also follow these tips to make sure your audience enjoys your presentation.

The Data

The data backs up what you claim about the problem. First, you explain what the problem is, then you explain why they should care about it. How does it affect them? Data is a powerful tool to show that you aren’t making things up. You should also pull data from multiple sources to make it clear that the data is proven.

The Solution

Now you can explain the solution to the audience’s problem. How can your company help solve their problem? This is where you can explain why your solution gives them the best chance of eliminating their problem. This is also a great spot to bring in the idea of how your audience will look and feel as they are going through life with their problem solved. Paint a picture for them using great images, data, and words to show them what success will look like for them once they’ve solved their problem with your solution.

The Credibility

It’s great that you claim to have a solution to their problem, but has it worked for other people before? That is what people want to know. I recommend performing and presenting market research, social proof studies, or case studies. When you have proven that your solution works, people will be more likely to trust you and try it.

The Offer

Always end a presentation with a call-to-action (CTA). This is the action you want your audience to take. You gave them valuable information in your presentation, now what should they do? Depending on your goals, it could be a free or paid offer. Here are a few examples of call-to-actions that you can include at the end of your presentation.

  • Book a call with our team
  • Email @… to request a meeting with our management team
  • Follow us on social media
  • Register for our next webinar
  • Purchase XYZ at a discounted rate
  • Redeem a free trial of our product/service
  • Join our online community

The important thing to remember about CTAs is that you only want to include one. I know it’s tempting to give them several offers, but the more offers they are given, the less likely they are to take any action at all. Give them one really good and specific offer that you want them to take advantage of.

The anatomy of a great presentation follows a general outline to tell the audience a story. Start with a great title, an enticing cover slide, and introduce the presentation. Then, move into the problem, data, solution, and credibility. Finally, present an offer to your audience for them to take action after the presentation. This general outline will ensure your audience clearly understands how your company can solve their problems and what they need to do next to take action.