Learn How to Structure a Presentation


There are many different types of presentations, but the basic structure for each type is the same. Our tips below can help you structure your next presentation, no matter what type it needs to be.

  • sales
  • creative
  • strategic
  • fundraising
  • investor
  • quarterly or annual
  • brand (awareness)
  • corporate (internal)
  • sustainability

What is the purpose of a presentation? As the name implies, the purpose is to present something. If the ideas you are being asked to present could explain themselves, you wouldn’t need to present them, you could just send a document. Important information that would take more time for others to read and fully grasp deserves to be presented in person, rather than distributed via email or printed documents. You are being asked to make a presentation because it is the most efficient way to express your knowledge and ideas to a number of people.

Whether you are a college student or at work, presentation skills are something we all can improve on. Our Presentation Structure Guide and Checklist will help guide you to making an impact at your next presentation.

You are the Presentation

The first and most important thing to remember when giving a presentation is that you are the presentation. When creating a PowerPoint, pdf, brochure, or printout remember that these are visual aids, tools to help support you in your presentation. They should clearly present your most important ideas in a short memorable fashion, or help the audience grasp complex ideas with simple, clear visuals.

Don't Read Everything on a Slide

Do not write out everything you want to say and then read it. It’s not only boring for the audience, but they must choose between reading or listening to you because of the redundancy. Your presentation should summarize key points, emphasizing what you are saying. What the audience sees and hears should work together to reinforce one another.

If you are presenting from a printed presentation deck, it’s a good idea to make one deck for yourself that includes your presentation script, and another for the others in the meeting who will be listening to you. Naturally, you should use high-quality paper such as Hammermill® Color Copy Digital, 28lb printer paper for any printed presentation materials to ensure your work looks and feels its best.

Stick to What You Know

Giving a presentation can be stressful. Make it easier on yourself by sticking to information you know well. Build time into your presentation for questions and/or feedback. By using information you know well, you ensure that you are well positioned to answer people’s questions and make best use of their input. With the fast pace of our lives, it isn’t always possible to know the deep background on what you are presenting, but the more you know about the subject the more comfortable you are likely to be in presenting. The more comfortable you are presenting, the more comfortable and therefore receptive the audience will be.

Be sure to join our mailing list to learn about specific kinds of presentations in the coming months, as well as a bunch of helpful tips and ideas that can help you build a stronger business. And if there are important things that you have learned that we may have overlooked, or topics you’d like to know more about in the future, please let us know!

Need more help structuring a presentation? Check out our Presentation Structure Guide and Checklist for more in-depth information.

related resource

Presentation Guide & Checklist