Ways to Stay Organized Throughout Your Presentation

Whether you are giving a formal presentation in front of a large auditorium or you are called to speak at your next board meeting, you should always aim for a clear, well-structured delivery.  This means you should know exactly what you are going to say and the order in which you will say it.  Having a well thought out structure will help to alleviate any stress and nervousness that you might be feeling.  Good organization and clarity of ideas will result in a logical and compelling message that is delivered in a professional way.  Boost your confidence and manage your presentation with these great ideas for staying organized.

Determine a Purpose

The first thing every presenter should do is determine a purpose.  You obviously want to inform the audience about a topic, but what else do you hope to achieve?  With these objectives in mind, write down all of the points you wish to make during your presentation.  As a general guide 3 key points are sufficient for a 10-15 minute presentation, 6 key points for a 30 minute presentation, and 8 key points for a 45-60 minute presentation.  Do be careful not to overload your presentation with so much information that it leaves audiences feeling overwhelmed and confused.  It is better to keep things simple and concise.

Outline Your Presentation

Presenters who outline their presentation find that it clarifies their message and helps them to organize their content.  You should begin with an introduction, then add your main content in the middle, and finally end with your conclusion.  Your introduction should include something catchy to get audience attention such as a story or startling statistic, followed by stating your key points.  Your main content should be broken down by each key point.  Under each key point you will want to expand on supporting details.  Finally, your conclusion should wrap up your main points and remind audiences of everything they learned.

Plan Your Visuals

Most presentations benefit from slideshows, photographs, charts, illustrations, video-clips, or props to help bring them to life.  Visuals of any kind need to be relevant and must have a specific place in the presentation.  If you are using PowerPoint or a similar presentation software, make sure it is only used as a guide, and not as the entire presentation itself.  It should serve as a visual tool while YOU are the main teacher.  Make a note of any visuals in your outline so you know exactly when to use them during the presentation.

Use Notecards

Many people prefer to use notecards to help them stay on track throughout their presentation.  Notecards can be a helpful reminder of what to say and when to say it.  Your notecards, however, should not be a script of what you are going to say.  Rather, they should only include a few main points and reminders to help you stay organized as you talk.

Rehearse

There is no better way to deliver a well-organized presentation than by rehearsing it.  Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror, and then again in front of family, friends, or close colleagues who can provide helpful feedback.  The more you rehearse, the better prepared you will be and the more confident you will feel on the day of the presentation.  This will result in a clear, concise, and well-organized delivery.