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This is “Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas”, chapter 14 from the book Successful Writing (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here .

This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.

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presentation chapter meaning

Chapter 14 Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas

14.1 organizing a visual presentation, learning objectives.

Until now, you have interacted with your audience of readers indirectly, on the page. You have tried to anticipate their reactions and questions as all good writers do. Anticipating the audience’s needs can be tough, especially when you are sitting alone in front of your computer.

When you give a presentation, you connect directly with your audience. For most people, making a presentation is both exciting and stressful. The excitement comes from engaging in a two-way interaction about your ideas. The stress comes from the pressure of presenting your ideas without having a delete button to undo mistakes. Outside the classroom, you may be asked to give a presentation, often at the last minute, and the show must go on. Presentations can be stressful, but planning and preparation, when the time and opportunity are available, can make all the difference.

This chapter covers how to plan and deliver an effective, engaging presentation. By planning carefully, applying some time-honored presentation strategies, and practicing, you can make sure that your presentation comes across as confident, knowledgeable, and interesting—and that your audience actually learns from it. The specific tasks involved in creating a presentation may vary slightly depending on your purpose and your assignment. However, these are the general steps.

Follow these steps to create a presentation based on your ideas:

Getting Started: Identifying and Organizing Key Ideas

To deliver a successful presentation, you need to develop content suitable for an effective presentation. Your ideas make up your presentation, but to deliver them effectively, you will need to identify key ideas and organize them carefully. Read the following considerations, which will help you first identify and then organize key ideas:

Determine Your Purpose

As with a writing assignment, determining the purpose of your presentation early on is crucial. You want to inform your readers about the topic, but think about what else you hope to achieve.

Are you presenting information intended to move your audience to adopt certain beliefs or take action on a particular issue? If so, you are speaking not only to inform but also to persuade your listeners. Do you want your audience to come away from your presentation knowing how to do something they that they did not know before? In that case, you are not only informing them but also explaining or teaching a process.

Writing at Work

Schoolteachers are trained to structure lessons around one or more lesson objectives. Usually the objective, the mission or purpose, states what students should know or be able to do after they complete the lesson. For example, an objective might state, “Students will understand the specific freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment” or “Students will be able to add two three-digit numbers correctly.”

As a manager, mentor, or supervisor, you may sometimes be required to teach or train other employees as part of your job. Determining the desired outcome of a training session will help you plan effectively. Identify your teaching objectives. What, specifically, do you want your audience to know (for instance, details of a new workplace policy) or be able to do (for instance, use a new software program)? Plan your teaching or training session to meet your objectives.

Identify Key Ideas

To plan your presentation, think in terms of three or four key points you want to get across. In a paper, you have the space to develop ideas at length and delve into complex details. In a presentation, however, you must convey your ideas more concisely.

One strategy you might try is to create an outline. What is your main idea? Would your main idea work well as key points for a brief presentation? How would you condense topics that might be too lengthy, or should you eliminate topics that may be too complicated to address in your presentation?

Revisit your presentation assignment, or think of a topic for your presentation. On your own sheet of notebook paper, write a list of at least three to five key ideas. Keep the following questions in mind when listing your key ideas:

Use an Outline to Organize Ideas

After you determine which ideas are most appropriate for your presentation, you will create an outline of those ideas. Your presentation, like a written assignment, should include an introduction, body, and conclusion. These components serve much the same purpose as they do in a written assignment.

Jorge, who wrote the research paper featured in Chapter 11 "Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?" , developed the following outline. Jorge relied heavily on this outline to plan his presentation, but he adjusted it to suit the new format.

presentation chapter meaning

Planning Your Introduction

In Chapter 12 "Writing a Research Paper" , you learned techniques for writing an interesting introduction, such as beginning with a surprising fact or statistic, a thought-provoking question or quotation, a brief anecdote that illustrates a larger concept or connects your topic to your audience’s experiences. You can use these techniques effectively in presentations as well. You might also consider actively engaging your audience by having members respond to questions or complete a brief activity related to your topic. For example, you may have your audience respond to a survey or tell about an experience related to your topic.

Incorporating media can also be an effective way to get your audience’s attention. Visual images such as a photograph or a cartoon can invoke an immediate emotional response. A graph or chart can highlight startling findings in research data or statistical information. Brief video or audio clips that clearly reinforce your message and do not distract or overwhelm your audience can provide a sense of immediacy when you plan to discuss an event or a current issue. A PowerPoint presentation allows you to integrate many of these different media sources into one presentation.

With the accessibility provided by the Internet, you can find interesting and appropriate audio and video with little difficulty. However, the clip alone will not sustain the presentation. To keep the audience interested and engaged, you must frame the beginning and end of the clip with your own words.

Jorge completed the introduction part of his outline by listing the key points he would use to open his presentation. He also planned to show various web links early on to illustrate the popularity of the low-carbohydrate diet trend.

presentation chapter meaning

Planning the Body of Your Presentation

The next step is to work with the key ideas you identified earlier. Determine the order in which you want to present these ideas, and flesh them out with important details. Chapter 10 "Rhetorical Modes" discusses several organizational structures you might work with, such as chronological order, comparison-and-contrast structure, or cause-and-effect structure.

How much detail you include will depend on the time allotted for your presentation. Your instructor will most likely give you a specific time limit or a specific slide limit, such as eight to ten slides. If the time limit is very brief (two to three minutes, for instance), you will need to focus on communicating your point of view, main supporting points, and only the most relevant details. Three minutes can feel like an eternity if you are speaking before a group, but the time will pass very quickly. It is important to use it well.

If you have more time to work with—ten minutes or half an hour—you will be able to discuss your topic in greater detail. More time also means you must devote more thought into how you will hold your audience’s interest. If your presentation is longer than five minutes, introduce some variety so the audience is not bored. Incorporate multimedia, invite the audience to complete an activity, or set aside time for a question-and-answer session.

Jorge was required to limit his presentation to five to seven minutes. In his outline, he made a note about where he would need to condense some complicated material to stay within his time limit. He also decided to focus only on cholesterol and heart disease in his discussion of long-term health outcomes. The research on other issues was inconclusive, so Jorge decided to omit this material. Jorge’s notes on his outline show the revisions he has made to his presentation.

presentation chapter meaning

You are responsible for using your presentation time effectively to inform your audience. You show respect for your audience by following the expected time limit. However, that does not mean you must fill all of that time with talk if you are giving a face-to-face presentation. Involving your audience can take some of the pressure off you while also keeping them engaged. Have them respond to a few brief questions to get them thinking. Display a relevant photograph, document, or object and ask your classmates to comment. In some presentations, if time allows, you may choose to have your classmates complete an individual or group activity.

Planning Your Conclusion

The conclusion should briefly sum up your main idea and leave your audience with something to think about. As in a written paper, you are essentially revisiting your thesis. Depending on your topic, you may also ask the audience to reconsider their thinking about an issue, to take action, or to think about a related issue. If you presented an attention-getting fact or anecdote in your introduction, consider revisiting it in your conclusion. Just as you have learned about an essay’s conclusion, do not add new content to the presentation’s conclusion.

No matter how you choose to structure your conclusion, make sure it is well planned so that you are not tempted to wrap up your presentation too quickly. Inexperienced speakers, in a face-to-face presentation, sometimes rush through the end of a presentation to avoid exceeding the allotted time or to end the stressful experience of presenting in public. Unfortunately, a hurried conclusion makes the presentation as a whole less memorable.

Time management is the key to delivering an effective presentation whether it is face-to-face or in PowerPoint. As you develop your outline, think about the amount of time you will devote to each section. For instance, in a five-minute face-to-face presentation, you might plan to spend one minute on the introduction, three minutes on the body, and one minute on the conclusion. Later, when you rehearse, you can time yourself to determine whether you need to adjust your content or delivery.

In a PowerPoint presentation, it is important that your presentation is visually stimulating, avoids information overload by limiting the text per slide, uses speaker notes effectively, and uses a font that is visible on the background (e.g., avoid white letters on a light background or black letters on a dark background).

Work with the list you created in Note 14.4 "Exercise 1" to develop a more complete outline for your presentation. Make sure your outline includes the following:

Identifying Opportunities to Incorporate Visual and Audio Media

You may already have some ideas for how to incorporate visual and audio media in your presentation. If not, review your outline and begin thinking about where to include media. Presenting information in a variety of formats will help you keep your audience’s interest.

Use Presentation Software

Delivering your presentation as a slideshow is one way to use media to your advantage. As you speak, you use a computer and an attached projector to display a slideshow of text and graphics that complement the speech. Your audience will follow your ideas more easily, because you are communicating with them through more than one sense. The audience hears your words and also sees the corresponding visuals. A listener who momentarily loses track of what you are saying can rely on the slide to cue his or her memory.

To set up your presentation, you will need to work with the content of your outline to develop individual slides. Each slide should focus on just a few bullet points (or a similar amount of content presented in a graphic). Remember that your audience must be able to read the slides easily, whether the members sit in the front or the back of the room. Avoid overcrowding the slides with too much text.

Using presentation software, such as PowerPoint, allows you to incorporate graphics, sounds, and even web links directly into your slides. You can also work with available styles, color schemes, and fonts to give your presentation a polished, consistent appearance. Different slide templates make it easy to organize information to suit your purpose. Be sure your font is visible to you audience. Avoid using small font or colored font that is not visible against your background.

Use PowerPoint as a Visual Aid

PowerPoint and similar visual representation programs can be effective tools to help audiences remember your message, but they can also be an annoying distraction to your speech. How you prepare your slides and use the tool will determine your effectiveness.

PowerPoint is a slideware program that you have no doubt seen used in class, seen in a presentation at work, or perhaps used yourself to support a presentation. PowerPoint and similar slideware programs provide templates for creating electronic slides to present visual information to the audience, reinforcing the verbal message. You will be able to import or cut and paste words from text files, images, or video clips to create slides to represent your ideas. You can even incorporate web links. When using any software program, it is always a good idea to experiment with it long before you intend to use it; explore its many options and functions, and see how it can be an effective tool for you.

At first, you might be overwhelmed by the possibilities, and you might be tempted to use all the bells, whistles, and sound effects, not to mention the tumbling, flying, and animated graphics. If used wisely, a dissolve or key transition can be like a well-executed scene from a major motion picture and lead your audience to the next point. But if used indiscriminately, it can annoy the audience to the point where they cringe in anticipation of the sound effect at the start of each slide. This danger is inherent in the tool, but you are in charge of it and can make wise choices that enhance the understanding and retention of your information.

The first point to consider is which visual aid is the most important. The answer is you, the speaker. You will facilitate the discussion, give life to the information, and help the audience correlate the content to your goal or purpose. You do not want to be in a position where the PowerPoint presentation is the focus and you are on the side of the stage simply helping the audience follow along. Slides should support you in your presentation, rather than the other way around. Just as there is a number one rule for handouts (do not pass them out at the start of your presentation), there is also one for PowerPoint presentations: do not use PowerPoint slides as a read-aloud script for your speech. The PowerPoint slides should amplify and illustrate your main points, not reproduce everything you are going to say.

Your pictures are the second area of emphasis you will want to consider. The tool will allow you to show graphs, charts and illustrate relationships that words may only approach in terms of communication, but your verbal support of the visual images will make all the difference. Dense pictures or complicated graphics will confuse more than they clarify. Choose clear images that have an immediate connection to both your content and the audience, tailored to their specific needs. After the images, consider using only key words that can be easily read to accompany your pictures. The fewer words the better. Try to keep each slide to a total word count of less than ten words. Do not use full sentences. Using key words provides support for your verbal discussion, guiding you as well as your audience. The key words can serve as signposts or signal words related to key ideas.

A natural question at this point is, How do I communicate complex information simply? The answer comes with several options. The visual representation on the screen is for support and illustration. Should you need to communicate more technical, complex, or in-depth information in a visual way, consider preparing a handout to distribute at the conclusion of your speech. You may also consider using a printout of your slide show with a section for taking notes, but if you distribute it at the beginning of your speech, you run the risk of turning your presentation into a guided reading exercise and possibly distracting or losing members of the audience. Everyone reads at a different pace and takes notes in their own way. You do not want to be in the position of going back and forth between slides to help people follow along.

Another point to consider is how you want to use the tool to support your speech and how your audience will interpret its presentation. Most audiences wouldn’t want to read a page of text—as you might see in this book—on the big screen. They will be far more likely to glance at the screen and assess the information you present in relation to your discussion. Therefore, it is key to consider one main idea, relationship, or point per slide. The use of the tool should be guided with the idea that its presentation is for the audience’s benefit, not yours. People often understand pictures and images more quickly and easily than text, and you can use this to your advantage, using the knowledge that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Incorporate Visual Media

Even if you do not use a slideshow to complement your presentation, you can include visual media to support and enhance your content. Visual media are divided into two major categories: images and informational graphics.

Image-based media, such as photographs or videos, often have little or no accompanying text. Often these media are more powerful than words in getting a message across. Within the past decade, the images associated with major news stories, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, the Abu Ghraib prison abuses from 2004 to 2006, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, have powerfully affected viewers’ emotions and drawn their attention to these news stories.

Figure 14.1

presentation chapter meaning

Even if your presentation addresses a less dramatic subject, you can still use images to draw in your audience. Consider how photographs, an illustration, or a video might help your audience connect with a particular person or place or bring a historical event to life. Use visual images to support descriptions of natural or man-made phenomena. What ideas lend themselves to being explained primarily through images?

In addition, consider how you might incorporate informational graphics in your presentation. Informational graphics include diagrams, tables, pie charts, bar and line graphs, and flow charts. Informational graphics usually include some text and often work well to present numerical information. Consider using them if you are presenting statistics, comparing facts or data about several different groups, describing changes over time, or presenting a process.

Incorporate Audio Media

Although audio media are not as versatile as visual media, you may wish to use them if they work well with your particular topic. If your presentation discusses trends in pop music or analyzes political speeches, playing an audio clip is an obvious and effective choice. Clips from historical speeches, radio talk shows, and interviews can also be used, but extended clips may be ineffective with modern audiences. Always assess your audience’s demographics and expectations before selecting and including audio media.

Review the outline you created in Note 14.11 "Exercise 2" . Complete the following steps:

Figure 14.2

presentation chapter meaning


Planning Ahead: Annotating Your Presentation

When you make a presentation, you are giving a performance of sorts. It may not be as dramatic as a play or a movie, but it requires smooth coordination of several elements—your words, your gestures, and any media you include. One way to ensure that the performance goes smoothly is to annotate To add comments or notes to a document. your presentation ahead of time.

To annotate means to add comments or notes to a document. You can use this technique to plan how the different parts of your presentation will flow together. For instance, if you are working with slides, add notes to your outline indicating when you will show each slide. If you have other visual or audio media to include, make a note of that, too. Be as detailed as necessary. Jotting “Start video at 3:14” can spare you the awkwardness of searching for the right clip during your presentation.

In the workplace, employees are often asked to deliver presentations or conduct a meeting using standard office presentation software. If you are using presentation software, you can annotate your presentation easily as you create your slides. Use the notes feature at the bottom of the page to add notes for each slide. As you deliver your presentation, your notes will be visible to you on the computer screen but not to your audience on the projector screen.

In a face-to-face presentation, make sure your final annotated outline is easy to read. It will serve to cue you during your presentation, so it does not need to look polished, as long as it is clear to you. Double space the text. Use a larger-than-normal font size (14 or 16 points) if that will make it easier for you to read. Boldface or italics will set off text that should be emphasized or delivered with greater emotion. Write out main points, as well as your opening and closing remarks, in complete sentences, along with any material you want to quote verbatim. Use shorter phrases for supporting details. Using your speaker notes effectively will help you deliver an effective presentation. Highlighting, all capital letters, or different-colored font will help you easily distinguish notes from the text of your speech. Read Jorge’s annotated outline.

presentation chapter meaning

Some students prefer to write out the full text of their face-to-face presentation. This can be a useful strategy when you are practicing your delivery. However, keep in mind that reading your text aloud, word for word, will not help you capture and hold your audience’s attention. Write out and read your speech if that helps you rehearse. After a few practice sessions, when you are more comfortable with your material, switch to working from an outline. That will help you sound more natural when you speak to an audience.

In a PowerPoint presentation, remember to have your slides in logical sequential order. Annotating your presentation before submitting it to your audience or your instructor will help you check for order and logical transitions. Too much text or data may confuse your audience; strive for clarity and avoid unnecessary details. Let the pictures or graphics tell the story but do not overload your slideshow with visuals. Be sure your font is visible. Look for consistency in the time limit of your presentation to gauge your level of preparedness.

Begin to annotate your outline. (You will probably add more notes as you proceed, but including some annotations now will help you begin pulling your ideas together.) Mark your outline with the following information:

presentation chapter meaning

Key Takeaways

14.2 Incorporating Effective Visuals into a Presentation

Good communication is a multisensory experience. Children first learning how to read often gravitate toward books with engaging pictures. As adults, we graduate to denser books without pictures, yet we still visualize ideas to help us understand the text. Advertisers favor visual media—television, magazines, and billboards—because they are the best way to hook an audience. Websites rely on color, graphics, icons, and a clear system of visual organization to engage Internet surfers.

Bringing visuals into a presentation adds color, literally and figuratively. There is an art to doing it well. This section covers how to use different kinds of visual aids effectively.

Using Visual Aids: The Basics

Good writers make conscious choices. They understand their purpose and audience. Every decision they make on the page, from organizing an essay to choosing a word with just the right connotations, is made with their purpose and audience in mind.

The same principle applies to visual communication. As a presenter, you choose the following:

Your goal is to use visual media to support and enhance your presentation. At the same time, you must make sure these media do not distract your audience or interfere with getting your point across. Your ideas, not your visuals, should be the focus.

As you develop the visual side of your presentation, you will follow a process much like the process you follow when you write. You will brainstorm ideas, form an organizational plan, develop drafts, and then refine and edit your work. The following sections provide guidelines to help you make good decisions throughout the process.

What Makes Visual Aids Effective?

To help you get a sense of what makes visual media work, think about what does not work. Try to recall occasions when you have witnessed the following visual media failures:

In each case, the problem is that the media creator did not think carefully enough about the purpose and audience. The purpose of images, color, or flashing text on a website is to attract attention. Overusing these elements defeats the purpose because the viewer may become overwhelmed or distracted. Tables, charts, and graphs are intended to simplify complex information, but without clear labels and legible text, they will confuse the audience.

In contrast, effective visual elements are chosen or created with the purpose and audience in mind. Although a photo shoot for a magazine article might result in dozens of images, editors choose those few that work best with the article. Web designers and video game creators have an audience test their products before they are released, to ensure that people will understand how to use them. Understanding the function of different visual aids will help you use them with purpose.

Types of Visual Aids

Visual aids fall into two main categories—images and informational graphics. Images include photographs, illustrations and clip art, and video footage. Informational graphics include tables, charts, bar graphs, and line graphs.

These visual aids serve two purposes: to add emotional impact to your presentation and to organize information more clearly. With that in mind, read to find out how specific types of visual aids achieve those purposes.


A striking photograph can capture your audience’s attention far more successfully than words can. Consider including photographs at the beginning or end of your presentation to emphasize your main ideas or to accompany a particularly important point in the body of your presentation. Remember that, as with other types of graphics, less is often more. Two or three well-chosen photographs are more effective than a dozen mediocre ones.

When you choose photographs, ask yourself these questions:

To illustrate the sense of helplessness people felt in the midst of tragedy, a student could use a photograph that shows fear, weariness, or defeat on the face of the photograph’s subject.

Figure 14.3

presentation chapter meaning

Source: © Thinkstock


Illustrations, such as editorial or political cartoons, serve much the same purpose as photographs. Because an illustration does not capture a moment in time the way a photo does, it may have less impact. However, depending on your topic and the effect you want to achieve, illustrations can still be very useful. Use the same criteria for choosing photographs to help you choose illustrations.

Figure 14.4

presentation chapter meaning

The style of an illustration or photograph affects viewers just as the content does. Keep this in mind if you are working with the stock images available in office software programs. Many of these images have a comical tone. This may be fine for some topics—for instance, a presentation on television shows for children. However, if you need to project a more serious tone, make sure you choose images to suit that purpose. Many free (or reasonably priced) image banks are available online.

Video Footage

Even more than photographs, video footage can create a sense of immediacy, especially if your video includes sound. Showing a brief video clip can help your audience feel as if they are present at an important event, connect with a person being interviewed, or better understand a process. Again, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are using the footage well:

Informational graphics, such as tables, charts, and graphs, do not provoke the same response that images do. Nevertheless, these graphics can have a powerful impact. Their primary purpose is to organize and simplify information.

Tables are effective when you must classify information and organize it in categories. Tables are an especially good choice when you are presenting qualitative data Data or statistics that are not strictly numerical. that are not strictly numerical. Table 14.1 "Example of Qualitative Data Table" was created for a presentation discussing the subprime mortgage crisis. It presents information about people who have held powerful positions both in the government and at one of the investment banking firms involved in the subprime mortgage market.

Table 14.1 Example of Qualitative Data Table

Sources:,11459%5D ; ; ; , ; .

If you are working with numerical information, consider whether a pie chart, bar graph, or line graph might be an effective way to present the content. A table can help you organize numerical information, but it is not the most effective way to emphasize contrasting data or to show changes over time.

Pie charts are useful for showing numerical information in percentages. For example, you can use a pie chart to represent presidential election results by showing what percentage of voters voted for the Democratic presidential candidate, the Republican candidate, and candidates from other political parties.

Figure 14.5

presentation chapter meaning


Bar graphs work well when you want to show similarities and differences in numerical data. Horizontal or vertical bars help viewers compare data from different groups, different time periods, and so forth. For instance, the bar graph in Figure 14.6 allows the viewer to compare data on the five countries that have won the most Olympic medals since the modern games began in 1924: Norway, the United States, the former Soviet Union, Germany, and Austria. Bar graphs can effectively show trends or patterns in data as well.

Figure 14.6

presentation chapter meaning


Line Graphs

Like bar graphs, line graphs show trends in data. Line graphs are usually used to show trends in data over time. For example, the line graph in Figure 14.7 shows changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average—an economic index based on trading information about thirty large, US-based public companies. This graph shows where the Dow closed at the end of each business day over a period of five days.

Figure 14.7

presentation chapter meaning


In this exercise, you will begin to refine your ideas for incorporating media into your presentation. Complete the following steps on your own sheet of paper.

Creating Original Visual Aids

You will include original visual aids in your presentation to add interest, present complex information or data more clearly, or appeal to your audience’s emotions. You may wish to create some visual aids by hand—for instance, by mounting photographs on poster board for display. More likely, however, you will use computer-generated graphics.

Computer-generated visual aids are easy to create once you learn how to use certain office software. They also offer greater versatility. You can print hard copies and display them large or include them in a handout for your audience. Or, if you are working with presentation software, you can simply insert the graphics in your slides.

Regardless of how you proceed, keep the following guidelines in mind:

Using Software to Create Visual Aids

You can use standard office software to create simple graphics easily. The following guidelines describe how to work with word-processing software and presentation software.

Working with Photographs

Most personal computers come equipped with some basic image-editing software, and many people choose to purchase more advanced programs as well. You can upload photographs from a digital camera (or in some cases, a cell phone) or scan and upload printed photographs. The images can then be edited and incorporated into your presentation. Be sure to save all of your images in one folder for easy access.

Creating Tables

To create a table within a word-processing document consult your software program’s help feature or an online tutorial. Once you have created the table, you can edit and make any additional changes. Be sure that the table has no more than six to seven rows or columns because you do not want to compromise the size of the text or the readability. Aligning with precision will help your table look less crowded. Also, the row and column titles should spell out their contents.

Creating Graphs

Figure 14.8

presentation chapter meaning

Pie charts and bar and line graphs can also be created using standard office software. Although you can create these graphics within a document, you will need to work with both your word-processing application and your spreadsheet application to do so. The graph should visually explain the data using colors, titles, and labels. The use of color will help the audience distinguish information; however, avoid colors that are hard on the eyes, such as lime green or hot pink. The title should clearly state what the graph explains. Lastly, avoid using acronyms in the titles and other labels.

Creating Graphics in an Electronic Presentation

If you plan to work only with hard copy graphics during your presentation, you may choose to create them as word-processing documents. However, if you are using presentation software, you will need to choose one of the following options:

Standard office presentation software allows you to create informational graphics in much the same way you would create them within a word-processing application. Keep the formatting palette, a menu option that allows you to customize the graphic, open while you use the software. The formatting menu provides options for inserting other types of graphics, such as pictures and video. You may insert pictures from an image bank available within the program, or insert images or video from your own desktop files. Shape your use of multimedia in accordance with the message your presentation is trying to convey, the purpose, and your audience.

Creating Visual Aids by Hand

Most of the time, using computer-generated graphics is more efficient than creating them by hand. Using office software programs helps give your graphics a polished appearance while also teaching you skills that are useful in a variety of jobs. However, it may make sense to use hand-created visual aids in some cases—for instance, when showing a 3-D model would be effective. If you follow this route, be sure to devote extra time to making sure your visual aids are neat, legible, and professional.

Flip charts are inexpensive and quick visual aids used during face-to-face presentations. The flip chart can be prepared before, as well as during, the presentation. Each sheet of paper should contain one theme, idea, or sketch and must be penned in large letters to be seen by audience members farthest away from the speaker.

Writing Captions

Any media you incorporate should include a caption or other explanatory text. A caption A brief (one to two sentences) description or explanation of a visual image. is a brief, one- to two-sentence description or explanation of a visual image. Make sure your captions are clear, accurate, and to the point. Use full sentences when you write them.

Captions should always be used with photographs, and in some cases, they can be useful for clarifying informational graphics, which represent qualitative data visually. However, informational graphics may not require a caption if the title and labels are sufficiently clear. For other visual media, such as video footage, providing explanatory text before or after the footage will suffice. The important thing is to make sure you always include some explanation of the media.

In this exercise, you will begin to develop visual aids for your presentation. Complete the steps in this exercise—and enjoy the chance to be creative. Working with visuals can be a pleasant way to take a break from the demands of writing.


Please share the first version of your visual aids with a classmate. Examine what they have produced. On a separate piece of paper, note both the elements that catch your attention and those that would benefit from clarification. Return and compare notes.

Testing and Evaluating Visual Aids

Regardless of how you create your visual aids, be sure to test-drive them before you deliver your presentation. Edit and proofread them, and if possible, show them to someone who can give you objective feedback. Use the following checklist.

Checklist 14.1

Visual Aid Evaluation Checklist

Office software includes many options for personalizing a presentation. For instance, you can choose or create a theme and color scheme, modify how one slide transitions to the next, or even include sound effects. With so many options, students and employees sometimes get carried away. The result can seem amateurish and detract from, rather than enhance, your presentation.

Remember, you are delivering a presentation, not producing a movie. Use the customization options to help give your presentations a consistent, polished, appearance. However, do not let these special effects detract from the substance of your slides.

Using Existing Visual Media

Depending on your topic, you may be able to find images and other graphics you can use instead of creating your own. For instance, you might use photographs from a reputable news source or informational graphics created by a government agency. If you plan to use visual aids created by others, keep the following guidelines in mind:

Searching Efficiently for Visual Media

You will probably find it most efficient to use the Internet to search for visual aids. Many students begin by typing keywords into a search engine to locate related images. However, this search technique is not necessarily efficient, for several reasons:

A more efficient strategy is to identify a few sources that are likely to have what you are looking for, and then search within those sites. For instance, if you need a table showing average life expectancy in different countries, you might begin with the website of the World Health Organization. If you hope to find images related to current events, news publications are an obvious choice. The Library of Congress website includes many media related to American history, culture, and politics.

Searching this way has the following advantages:

If you do choose to use a search engine to help you locate visual media, make sure you use it wisely. Begin with a clear idea of what you are looking for. Use the advanced search settings to narrow your search. When you locate a relevant image, do not download it immediately. Read the page or site to make sure you understand the image in context. Finally, read the site’s copyright or terms of use policy—usually found at the bottom of the home page—to make sure you may use the material.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for on the Internet consider using print sources of visual media. You may choose to mount these for display or scan them and incorporate the files into an electronic presentation. (Scanning printed pages may lower the quality of the image. However, if you are skilled at using photo-editing software, you may be able to improve the quality of the scanned image.)

Inserting Hyperlinks in an Electronic Presentation

If you are working with images, audio, or video footage available online, you may wish to insert a link within your presentation. Then, during your presentation, you can simply click the link to open the website in a separate window and toggle between windows to return to your presentation slides.

To insert a hyperlink within your presentation, click on insert in the toolbar and then select hyperlink from the menu. Doing so will open a dialogue box where you can paste your link and modify the accompanying display text shown on your slide.

Copyright and Fair Use

Before you download (or scan) any visual media, make sure you have the right to use it. Most websites state their copyright and terms of use policy on their home page. In general, you may not use other people’s visual media for any commercial purpose without contacting the copyright holder to obtain permission and pay any specified fees.

Copyright restrictions are somewhat more ambiguous when you wish to download visual media for educational uses. Some educational uses of copyrighted materials are generally considered fair use A legitimate use of brief quotations from source material to support and develop a writer’s ideas. This includes the use of other copyrighted media, even though the user has not formally requested the copyright holder’s permission to reproduce the media. Many educational uses of visual media are generally considered fair use as long as the user scrupulously follows certain guidelines. —meaning that it is legally and ethically acceptable to use the material in your work. However, do not assume that because you are using the media for an educational purpose, you are automatically in the clear. Make sure your work meets the guidelines in the following checklist. If it does, you can be reasonably confident that it would be considered fair use in a court of law and always give credit to the source.

Checklist 14.2

Media Fair Use Checklist

By following these guidelines, you are respecting the copyright holder’s right to control the distribution of the work and to profit from it.

In some fields, such as teaching, job applicants often submit a professional portfolio to a prospective employer. Recent college graduates may include relevant course work in their portfolios or in applications to graduate school. What should you do if your course work uses copyrighted visual media?

This use of media is acceptable according to fair use guidelines. Even though you are using the work for your personal professional advancement, it is not considered an infringement on copyright as long as you follow the additional guidelines listed in the previous checklist.

Crediting Sources

As you conduct your research, make sure you document sources as you proceed. Follow the guidelines when you download images, video, or other media from the Internet or capture media from other sources. Keep track of where you accessed the media and where you can find additional information about it. You may also provide a references page at the end of the presentation to cite not only media and images but also the information in the text of your presentation. See Chapter 13 "APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting" for more information on creating a reference page.

Write captions or other explanatory text for visual media created by others, just as you would for media you created. Doing so helps keep your audience informed. It also helps ensure that you are following fair use guidelines by presenting the media with your commentary, interpretation, or analysis. In your caption or elsewhere in your presentation, note the source of any media you did not create yourself. You do not need to provide a full bibliographical citation, but do give credit where it is due.

In this exercise, you will locate visual aids created by others and continue developing the work you began earlier. Complete these steps.

Take some time now to review how you will integrate the visual and verbal components of your presentation.

14.3 Giving a Presentation

By this time, you have already completed much of the preparation for your presentation. You have organized your ideas and planned both the textual and visual components of your presentation. Still, you may not feel quite ready to speak in front of a group.

Public speaking is stressful. In fact, some researchers have found that a large percentage of people surveyed rate public speaking as their number one fear. Most people feel at least a little bit nervous at the prospect of public speaking.

At the same time, it is an increasingly necessary skill in the workplace. A human resource manager presents company policies and benefits plans to large groups of employees. An entrepreneur presents the idea for a new business to potential investors. A nurse might chair a staff meeting to introduce new hospital procedures. A police officer might present crime-prevention tips at a community meeting. In some fields, such as training and teaching, speaking in public is a regular job requirement.

In this section, you will learn strategies for becoming a confident, effective speaker. You have already taken the major steps toward making your presentation successful, as a result of the content planning you did in Chapter 14 "Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas" , Section 14.1 "Organizing a Visual Presentation" and Section 14.2 "Incorporating Effective Visuals into a Presentation" . Now, it is time to plan and practice your delivery.

What Makes a Speaker Effective?

Think about times you have been part of the audience for a speech, lecture, or other presentation. You have probably noticed how certain traits and mannerisms work to engage you and make the experience enjoyable. Effective speakers project confidence and interest in both their audience and their subject matter. They present ideas clearly and come across as relaxed but in control.

In contrast, less effective speakers may seem anxious or, worse, apathetic. They may be difficult to hear or understand, or their body language may distract from their message. They have trouble making a connection with their audience. This can happen even when the speaker knows his or her material and has prepared effective visual aids.

In both cases, two factors contribute to your overall impression of the speaker: voice and body language. The following sections discuss specific points to focus on.

Finding Your Voice

Most people do not think much about how their voices come across in everyday conversations. Talking to other people feels natural. Unfortunately, speaking in public does not, and that can affect your voice. For instance, many people talk faster when they give presentations, because they are nervous and want to finish quickly. In addition, some traits that do not matter too much in ordinary conversation, such as a tendency to speak quietly, can be a problem when speaking to a group. Think about the characteristics discussed in the following section and how your own voice might come across.

One quality of a good speaking voice is resonance In public speaking, the strength, depth, and force of someone’s voice. , meaning strength, depth, and force. This word is related to the word resonate . Resonant speech begins at the speaker’s vocal cords and resonates throughout the upper body. The speaker does not simply use his or her mouth to form words, but instead projects from the lungs and chest. (That is why having a cold can make it hard to speak clearly.)

Some people happen to have powerful, resonant voices. But even if your voice is naturally softer or higher pitched, you can improve it with practice.


Enunciation How a speaker articulates words. Good speakers enunciate clearly. refers to how clearly you articulate words while speaking. Try to pronounce words as clearly and accurately as you can, enunciating each syllable. Avoid mumbling or slurring words. As you rehearse your presentation, practice speaking a little more slowly and deliberately. Ask someone you know to give you feedback.

Volume is simply how loudly or softly you speak. Shyness, nervousness, or overenthusiasm can cause people to speak too softly or too loudly, which may make the audience feel frustrated or put off. Here are some tips for managing volume effectively:

Pitch How high or low a speaker’s voice is. refers to how high or low a speaker’s voice is. The overall pitch of people’s voices varies among individuals. We also naturally vary our pitch when speaking. For instance, our pitch gets higher when we ask a question and often when we express excitement. It often gets lower when we give a command or want to convey seriousness.

A voice that does not vary in pitch sounds monotonous, like a musician playing the same note repeatedly. Keep these tips in mind to manage pitch:

Pace The speed or rate at which you speak. is the speed or rate at which you speak. Speaking too fast makes it hard for an audience to follow the presentation. The audience may become impatient.

Many less experienced speakers tend to talk faster when giving a presentation because they are nervous, want to get the presentation over with, or fear that they will run out of time. If you find yourself rushing during your rehearsals, try these strategies:

If, on the other hand, your pace seems sluggish, you will need to liven things up. A slow pace may stem from uncertainty about your content. If that is the case, additional practice should help you. It also helps to break down how much time you plan to spend on each part of the presentation and then make sure you are adhering to your plan.

Pace affects not only your physical presentation but also the point of view; slowing down the presentation may allow your audience to further comprehend and consider your topic. Pace may also refer to the rate at which PowerPoint slides appear. If either the slide or the animation on the slide automatically appears, make sure the audience has adequate time to read the information or view the animation before the presentation continues.

Tone In writing, a writer’s attitude toward his or her subject and audience. In public speaking, this term refers to the emotion a speaker conveys. is the emotion you convey when speaking—excitement, annoyance, nervousness, lightheartedness, and so forth. Various factors, such as volume, pitch, and body language, affect how your tone comes across to your audience.

Before you begin rehearsing your presentation, think about what tone is appropriate for the content. Should you sound forceful, concerned, or matter-of-fact? Are there places in your presentation where a more humorous or more serious tone is appropriate? Think about the tone you should project, and practice setting that tone.

In this exercise, you will work on refining the oral delivery of the annotated outline you developed in Note 14.17 "Exercise 4" of Section 14.1 "Organizing a Visual Presentation" .

The Power of Body Language

The nonverbal content of a presentation is just as important as the verbal delivery. A person’s body language Nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, facial expressions, posture, gestures, and movement, that convey a message to a speaker’s audience. —eye contact, facial expressions, posture, gestures, and movement—communicates a powerful message to an audience before any words are spoken.

People interpret and respond to each other’s body language instinctively. When you talk to someone, you notice whether the other person is leaning forward or hanging back, nodding in agreement or disagreement, looking at you attentively or looking away. If your listener slouches, fidgets, or stares into space, you interpret these nonverbal cues as signs of discomfort or boredom. In everyday conversations, people often communicate through body language without giving it much conscious thought. Mastering this aspect of communication is a little more challenging, however, when you are giving a presentation. As a speaker, you are onstage. It is not easy to see yourself as your audience sees you.

Think about times you have been part of a speaker’s audience. You have probably seen some presenters who seemed to own the room, projecting confidence and energy and easily connecting with the audience. Other presenters may have come across as nervous, gloomy, or disengaged. How did body language make a difference?

Three factors work together powerfully to convey a nonverbal message: eye contact, posture, and movement.

Eye Contact and Facial Expressions

“Maintain eye contact” is a common piece of public-speaking advice—so common it may sound elementary and clichéd. Why is that simple piece of advice so hard to follow?

Maintaining eye contact may not be as simple as it sounds. In everyday conversation, people establish eye contact but then look away from time to time, because staring into someone’s eyes continuously feels uncomfortably intense. Two or three people conversing can establish a comfortable pattern of eye contact. But how do you manage that when you are addressing a group?

The trick is to focus on one person at a time. Zero in on one person, make eye contact, and maintain it just long enough to establish a connection. (A few seconds will suffice.) Then move on. This way, you connect with your audience, one person at a time. As you proceed, you may find that some people hold your gaze and others look away quickly. That is fine, as long as you connect with people in different parts of the room.

Pay attention to your facial expressions as well. If you have thought about how you want to convey emotion during different parts of your presentation, you are probably already monitoring your facial expressions as you rehearse. Be aware that the pressure of presenting can make your expression serious or tense without your realizing it.

If you are speaking to a very large group, it may be difficult to make eye contact with each individual. Instead, focus on a smaller group of persons or one row of people at time. Look in their direction for a few seconds and then shift your gaze to another small group in the room.

While eye contact establishes a connection with your audience, your posture establishes your confidence. Stand straight and tall with your head held high to project confidence and authority. Slouching or drooping, on the other hand, conveys timidity, uncertainty, or lack of interest in your own presentation.

It will not seem natural, but practice your posture in front of a mirror. Take a deep breath and let it out. Stand upright and imagine a straight line running from your shoulders to your hips to your feet. Rock back and forth slightly on the balls of your feet until your weight feels balanced. You should not be leaning forward, backward, or to either side. Let your arms and hands hang loosely at your sides, relaxed but not limp. Then lift your chin slightly and look into your own eyes. Do you feel more confident?

You might not just yet. In fact, you may feel overly self-conscious or downright silly. In time, however, maintaining good posture will come more naturally, and it will improve your effectiveness as a speaker.

Nervousness affects posture. When feeling tense, people often hunch up their shoulders without realizing it. (Doing so just makes them feel even tenser and may inhibit breathing, which can affect your delivery.) As you rehearse, relax your shoulders so they are not hunched forward or pushed back unnaturally far. Stand straight but not rigid. Do not try to suck in your stomach or push out your chest unnaturally. You do not need to stand like a military officer, just a more confident version of yourself.

Movement and Gestures

The final piece of body language that helps tie your presentation together is your use of gestures and movement. A speaker who barely moves may come across as wooden or lacking energy and emotion. Excessive movement and gestures, on the other hand, are distracting. Strive for balance.

A little movement can do a lot to help you connect with your audience and add energy to your presentation. Try stepping forward toward your audience at key moments where you really want to establish that personal connection. Consider where you might use gestures such as pointing, holding up your hand, or moving your hands for emphasis. Avoid putting your hands in your pockets or clasping them in front of or behind you.

When you give a presentation at work, wearing the right outfit can help you feel more poised and confident. The right attire can also help you avoid making distracting gestures. While you talk, you do not want to be tugging on necktie tied too tight or wobbling on flimsy high-heeled shoes. Choose clothing that is appropriately professional and comfortable.

In this exercise, present the same oral presentation from Note 14.41 "Exercise 1" , but this time, evaluate your body language.

Rehearsing Your Presentation and Making Final Preparations

Practice is essential if you want your presentation to be effective. Speaking in front of a group is a complicated task because there are so many components to stay on top of—your words, your visual aids, your voice, and your body language. If you are new to public speaking, the task can feel like juggling eggs while riding a unicycle. With experience, it gets easier, but even experienced speakers benefit from practice.

Take the time to rehearse your presentation more than once. Each time you go through it, pick another element to refine. For instance, once you are comfortable with the overall verbal content, work on integrating your visuals. Then focus on your vocal delivery and your body language. Multiple practice sessions will help you integrate all of these components into a smooth, effective presentation.

Practice in front of another person (or a small group) at least once. Practicing with a test audience will help you grow accustomed to interacting with other people as you talk, and it will give you a chance to get feedback from someone else’s perspective. Your audience can help you identify areas to improve.

Just as important as identifying areas for improvement, your audience can encourage you not to be too hard on yourself. When preparing for an oral presentation, many people are their own worst critics. They are hyperconscious of any flaws in their presentation, real or imagined. A test audience can provide honest feedback from a neutral observer who can provide support and constructive critique.

Managing Your Environment

Part of being a good presenter is managing your environment effectively. Your environment may be the space, the sound levels, and any tools or equipment you will use. Take these factors into account as you rehearse. Consider the following questions:

You may not be able to control every aspect of the environment to your liking. However, by thinking ahead, you can make the best of the space you have to work in. If you have a chance to rehearse in that environment, do so.

Engaging Your Audience: Planning a Question-and-Answer Session

Rehearsing your presentation will help you feel confident and in control. The most effective presenters do not simply rehearse the content they will deliver. They also think about how they will interact with their audience and respond effectively to audience input.

An effective way to interact is to plan a brief question-and-answer (Q&A) session to follow your presentation. Set aside a few minutes of your allotted time to address audience questions. Plan ahead. Try to anticipate what questions your audience might have, so you can be prepared to answer them. You probably will not have enough time to cover everything you know about the topic in your presentation. A Q&A session can give you an opportunity to fill in any gaps for your audience.

Finally, accept that interacting with your audience means going with the flow and giving up a little of your control. If someone asks a question you were not anticipating and cannot answer, simply admit you do not know and make a note to follow up.

Increasingly, employees need to manage a virtual environment when giving presentations in the workplace. You might need to conduct a webinar, a live presentation, meeting, workshop, or lecture delivered over the web; run an online Q&A chat session; or coordinate a conference call involving multiple time zones.

Preparation and rehearsal can help ensure that a virtual presentation goes smoothly. Complete a test run of any software you will use. Ask a coworker to assist you to ensure that both you and the audience have all the tools needed and that the tools are in working order. Make sure you have contact information for all the key meeting attendees. Finally, know whom to call if something goes wrong, and have a backup plan.

If you have not yet rehearsed in front of an audience, now is the time. Ask a peer (or a small group of people) to observe your presentation, provide a question-and-answer session, and have your audience provide feedback on the following:

Use your audience’s feedback to make any final adjustments to your presentation. For example, could you clarify your presentation to reduce the number of questions—or enhance the quality of the questions—the audience asked during the question-and-answer session?

Coping with Public-Speaking Anxiety

The tips in this chapter should help you reduce any nervousness you may feel about public speaking. Although most people are a little anxious about talking to a group, the task usually becomes less intimidating with experience and practice.

Preparation and practice are the best defenses against public-speaking anxiety. If you have made a serious effort to prepare and rehearse, you can be confident that your efforts will pay off. If you still feel shaky, try the following strategies:

To practice overcoming public-speaking anxiety, ask a family member, coworker, or peer to view a rehearsal of the presentation. Schedule the rehearsal at a time that works for you, and plan to get plenty of rest the night before. After the presentation, answer the following questions.

14.4 Creating Presentations: End-of-Chapter Exercises

Conduct an Internet search to find examples of strong and weak slideshow presentations. Determine the reasons why each presentation is or is not successful. Consider the following elements:

It is sometimes difficult to evaluate one’s own speaking skills. It is very helpful to rehearse and record yourself. Use the questions from the following list that to determine if your presentation needs additional work. If possible, have a partner evaluate your presentation.

View one or more television infomercials. Evaluate the presentations using the following questions:

presentation chapter meaning

iSpring Suite

How to Structure a PowerPoint Presentation

presentation chapter meaning

Think of a movie that has breathtaking special effects but no storyline. Does it have any chances of becoming a blockbuster? Of course not. The same is true with a PowerPoint presentation. No matter how beautiful the visuals of your slide deck are, it will never be a success if it doesn’t follow a logically sound structure.

In this post, we’ll cover the standard structure of a PowerPoint presentation – what sections it should include – and provide some practical tips on how to arrange the slides and implement these ideas technically. Use these practical guidelines to organize your slides in a clear and simple way and save time on their development. But first, let’s see why your PPT deck needs to be guided by a structure.

Why Is Structuring a Presentation Important?

A sound deck structure is crucial for audience understanding. When the information is presented logically, it’s much easier for a viewer to get the message. The research supports this idea – it shows that people are 40% more likely to retain structured information than unstructured information.

If you’re going to accompany your slideshow with an oral presentation, a good structure is also important for you as a speaker. It will help you feel confident, stay on topic, and avoid any awkward silences, so you’re more likely to win your audience over. 

What Is the Typical Presentation Structure?

A good presentation always has a story to tell and, like any narration, it consists of three basic parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. Let’s look at each part in greater detail with some examples. 


The introduction sets the tone for the entire presentation and explains what the audience will come away with after viewing it. Here are the slides you may need to add in the intro: 

Title of the PPT presentation

This is the main part of your presentation, which should keep the promises you made in the introduction. This is where you explain your topic and present all your information. 

Depending on the nature of your presentation, divide it into segments/points. Arrange your points in a logical order and then provide information to support each of them. There are many different ways to organize your key points, for example:

A good conclusion summarizes the key points you made or highlights what the audience should have learned. It clarifies the general purpose of your presentation and reinforces the reason for viewing it. Here are the slides you may want to include:

Tips for Structuring a Presentation in PPT

Now that you know which parts a typical presentation should consist of, let’s see how to structure it in PowerPoint. 

Watch this video tutorial or continue reading the article.

1. Combine slides into sections

When working with a large PowerPoint presentation (PPT), you can create sections that can be collapsed and expanded. This will help you keep slides organized and facilitate navigation in editing mode. To do that, follow these steps:

Adding sections in PowerPoint

As well, you can access these settings by choosing Slide Sorter under the VIEW tab.

Slide Sorter in PowerPoint

This kind of segmentation is a great way to overview the logical flow of your slides all at once and see if there are any changes required. For example, you may decide to break one slide into two or three, or the other way around.

2. Use the Outline View

One other way to structure a PowerPoint presentation in the editing mode is to use Outline View . You can choose it from the VIEW tab.

Outline View in PowerPoint

This view doesn’t display sections, but it shows the title and main text of each slide, which can give you a quick overview of the presentation contents. Here you can go through the entire text and edit it instantly. You can also work with text (on the left) and slides (on the right) simultaneously, as the latter is shown on the right side of your screen.

Note that, to be displayed in an outline, text needs to be typed in a text placeholder, not a text box . A text placeholder is a box with the words “Click to add text” or “Click to add title”, and it appears when you choose a standard layout.

You can also use Outline View to promote bullet text to titles and the other way around. To do that, right-click on a relevant title or text and select the Promote or Demote options.

Promote and Demote options in PowerPoint

Be attentive about demoting a title, as this will delete the original slide and move its title and text to the adjacent slide.

PowerPoint only allows users to promote and demote text, not entire slides. Therefore, there’s no possibility to change the hierarchical order of slides.

3. Create a table of contents

All the aforementioned tips help you organize a presentation when formatting it. However, it’s crucial that your viewers can easily navigate through the presentation too. One sure way to provide them with this opportunity is to create an interactive and structured table of contents.

Though there’s no native automatic outline in PowerPoint, it can be created manually:

Creating a table of contents in PowerPoint

Creating a hyperlink in PowerPoint

You’ll need to repeat this procedure to link all the chapters to corresponding slides. For more information, read this step-by-step guide on how to add a hyperlink in PowerPoint .

Now all the chapters can be accessed from a single table of contents, which is very convenient. However, you will also need to link them back to that unifying page. You can do this by inserting an Action Button on every slide of your presentation in Slide Master mode:

Slide Master in PowerPoint

Now there is a single page from which all the other pages can be easily accessed. As well, it’s possible to go back to the table of contents at any time with the intuitive Home button.

Depending on the size of your presentation, the time it takes to create an interactive outline may vary, as you will need to add hyperlinks to every chapter manually. Be aware that if you rename a slide or simply delete it, these changes will not be automatically registered in the table of contents. For example, if you delete a slide, its title will still be displayed in the table of contents, but clicking on it won’t lead the viewer to another point in the presentation.

This is what our sample presentation looks like:

presentation chapter meaning

A Better Way to Structure a Presentation

Creating a table of contents manually might be fine for a small presentation, but if you have 122 slides, it would require too much time and energy to do so. That’s why, instead of manually creating a table of contents, we took advantage of iSpring Suite and simply enabled the automatic outline.  

iSpring Suite

Fully-stocked eLearning authoring toolkit for PowerPoint. No training required to start!

presentation chapter meaning

Note: iSpring Suite turns slides into HTML5 format, so your audience can view them online, right in their browsers. 

presentation chapter meaning

As you can see, the new presentation has a pop-up outline and a navigation panel, which make it possible to move to any slide at any time without leaving the slide show mode. 

How to set up navigation

To create navigation in your presentation, follow these simple steps:

Slide Properties in iSpring Suite

How to configure an outline

Whereas PowerPoint requires the outline to be designed manually, iSpring Suite has already prepared it for you. At the same time, you don’t have to stick with the standard outline template, as you can easily customize the player’s final look and feel:

Publishing a presentation in iSpring Suite

We recommend leaving Enable Search marked, as this will allow viewers to search for any content at any time, including the texts on the slides. This is especially useful for large presentations with a lot of text.

If you have previously arranged slides into multiple levels in the Slide Properties, then leave Multilevel outline marked. That way, the outline will display the nesting structure of the presentation, facilitating navigation. You can learn more about the other outline options here .

Adjusting the outline appearance in iSpring Suite

While a standard PowerPoint slideshow is straightforward and limited, iSpring Suite saves viewers from having to follow a strict slide order. An interactive and searchable outline allows non-linear navigation, where any information can be accessed at any time at a glance.

Also read : → How to Convert PowerPoint to MP4 Video

Also read : →  How To Record Presentations With Audio

Another perk

iSpring Suite comes with Content Library , which provides a great collection of presentation templates and allows you to create professional-looking presentations in a matter of minutes. Each template includes basic course elements: a title slide, a table of contents, chapters, a timeline, and info slides. Organize them in the order you prefer, populate them with your texts and images, and your presentation is ready to go.

iSpring Suite Content Library

We hope this article will help you develop an ideal structure for your PowerPoint presentation and do this quickly and easily. 

Do you have any other insights on how to simplify PowerPoint slide design? Please share them in the comment section. We’d like to hear from you. 

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Content creator:

Helen Colman

She enjoys combining in-depth research with expert knowledge of the industry. If you have eLearning insights that you’d like to share, please get in touch .

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Developing Presentations

In the course of doing business, people get together regularly to give presentations, offer proposals, debate topics, and make decisions. The challenge is being able to share ideas in a clear, concise, effective manner.

This chapter includes information that will help you plan, write, and deliver a presentation, whether it’s a one-minute impromptu talk or an hour-long report with presentation software. The chapter includes practical strategies for drafting an attention-grabbing introduction, organizing the body, and developing a focused conclusion. It also includes tips on how to use visual support and rehearse the delivery.

In this chapter

Planning presentations, drafting presentations.

Presentations in Outline Form

Presentations in Manuscript Form

Designing Audio-Visual Presentations

Practicing your delivery, checklist: overcoming stage fright.

Regardless of the topic, form, or length of your presentation, you can follow the same basic steps to develop and present it.

Getting Started

The first step in preparing an oral presentation is getting an overview of the task. Begin by asking yourself What is my subject? What is my purpose? and Who is my audience? Answering these questions will help you write the presentation and shape its delivery.

What is my subject?

What do I already know about the subject?

What do I need to learn, and where can I find the information?

What support materials (displays, screen projections, handouts) would help me present my message?

What is my purpose?

Am I going to explain something?

Am I trying to persuade or inspire my audience to do something?

Am I hoping to teach my audience about something?

Who is my audience?

Is it an in-house group or an outside group?

How many people are in the group, and what are their ages, backgrounds, and interests?

What will people already know about the subject, and what will they want or need to know?

What will their attitude be toward the subject and toward me?

Stating Your Main Point

Once you have defined your subject, purpose, and audience, you should write out your main point as a single sentence. Use this formula:

the new Family and Children's Coalition confidentiality procedure

to explain how it will help us better serve our clients

I want to explain how our new confidentiality procedure will help the Family and Children's Coalition better serve our clients.

Note: See the outline that develops this idea .

Drafting an Outline

After you’ve clarified your subject, purpose, and audience—and you’ve written out your main point—think about how to present your message. Begin by brainstorming points that you want to communicate, and then organize the points into a list or working outline. For a brief, informal presentation, this list or outline may be the only script you need.

On the other hand, for a longer, more challenging presentation, you may need to significantly revise and develop the outline as you research and write the script. This outline is your tool for gathering and organizing your thoughts.

Gathering Information

Using your outline as a guide, gather the information you need. Begin by reviewing key documents, manuals, and company material related to the topic. If necessary, read current articles, review videos, explore the Internet, and talk with other people. What you gather will depend on your purpose, topic, resources, and available time.

Click here for help in finding and organizing information.

Thinking About Support Materials

As you gather information, keep a list of graphics, displays, and handouts that could make your presentation clearer and more interesting. For example, charts, tables, and graphs can help an audience grasp the meaning of complex data. Technical drawings or sketches can help listeners visualize a product or site. Demonstrations or video clips can help listeners better understand a process or connect with the people involved.

Review the list below for items appropriate to your topic, audience, and setting (including available equipment). Then, as you do your research, make a note about an item that you could use and how you could use it (as a display, projection, handout, and so forth).

audio clip (music)


company document


handheld prop

key quotation

list of authorities

sample product

technical drawing

Organizing Your Presentation

After you’ve gathered your information, you must organize and develop the message. How? Start by thinking about your presentation as having three distinct parts: (1) introduction, (2) body, and (3) conclusion. The guidelines that follow will help you integrate, organize, and refine all the parts so that they communicate the message and achieve your purpose.

1. Introduction

For any speaking situation, you should develop an introduction that does the following:

greets the audience and grabs their attention.

communicates your interest in them.

introduces your topic and main idea.

shows that you have something worthwhile to say.

establishes an appropriate tone.

You may greet the audience in many ways, including the following: introducing yourself; thanking people for coming; or making appropriate comments about the occasion, the individuals present, or the setting. Following these comments, introduce your main point as quickly and as clearly as you can. For example, you could open with one of these attention-grabbing strategies:

a little-known fact or statistic

a series of questions

a humorous story or anecdote

an appropriate quotation

a description of a serious problem

a cartoon, picture, or drawing

a short demonstration

a statement about the topic’s importance

an eye-catching prop or display

a video or an audio clip

The body of your presentation should deliver the message—and supporting points—so clearly that the audience understands the presentation after hearing it only once. The key to developing such a clear message is choosing an organizational pattern that fits your purpose statement.

So before you outline the body, take a moment to review what you want your presentation to do: explain a problem? promote an idea? teach a process? Be sure the organizational pattern will help you do that. For example, if you want to teach a process, the outline should list the process steps in chronological order. If your outline is clear, you may begin to write. Organizational patterns for explaining a process and other purposes are listed below.

Chronological Order: Arrange information according to the time order in which events (steps in a process) take place.

Order of Importance: Arrange information according to its importance: greatest to least, or least to greatest.

Comparison/Contrast: Give information about subjects by comparing and contrasting them.

Cause and Effect: Give information about a situation or problem by showing (1) the causes and (2) the effects.

Order of Location: Arrange information about subjects according to where things are located in relation to each other.

Problem/Solution: Describe a problem and then present a solution for it.

After deciding how to organize your message, write it out in either outline or manuscript form. For help, see the tips below and on these models .

Body-Building Tips

Build your presentation around several key ideas. (Don’t try to cover too much ground.)

Write with a personal, natural voice.

Support your main points with reliable facts and clear examples.

Present your information in short, easy-to-follow segments.

Use positive, respectful language. (Avoid jargon.)

Use graphic aids and handouts.

3. Conclusion

A strong introduction and conclusion work like bookends supporting the body of the presentation. The introduction gets the audience’s attention, sets the tone, states the main idea, and identifies the key points of the message. Almost in reverse, the conclusion reviews those points, restates the main idea, reinforces the tone, and refocuses the audience on what it should think about or do. Together, those bookends emphasize and clarify the message so that the audience understands and remembers it.

Here are some strategies—which you can use alone or in combination—for concluding a presentation:

Review your main idea and key points.

Issue a personal challenge.

Come “full circle.” (State those arguments or details that back up your original point.)

Recommend a plan of action.

Suggest additional sources of information.

Thank the audience and ask for questions.

Following your presentation, you may want to invite your audience to ask questions. Very often, a Q & A session is the real payoff for participants. They can ask for clarification of points or ask how your message applies to their personal situations. Audience members may even offer their own insights or solutions to problems mentioned in the presentation. The following suggestions will help you lead a good Q & A session:

Listen carefully and think about each part of the question.

Repeat or paraphrase questions for the benefit of the entire group.

Answer the question concisely and clearly.

Respond honestly when you don’t know the answer, and offer to find an answer.

Ask for a follow-up question if someone looks confused after your answer.

Look directly at the group when you answer.

Be prepared to pose an important question or two if no one asks a question.

Conclude by thanking the audience for their participation.

How much of your presentation you actually write out depends on your subject, purpose, audience, and—of course—your personal style. The three most common forms for a presentation are a list, an outline, and a manuscript.

List: Use a list for a short, informal speech such as an after-dinner introduction. Think about your purpose and then list the following:

your opening sentence (or two)

a summary phrase for each of your main points

your closing sentence

Opening sentence or two

Closing sentence

Outline: Use an outline for a more complex or formal topic. You can organize your material in greater detail without tying yourself to a word-for-word presentation. Here’s one way you can do it:

opening (complete sentences)

all main points (sentences)

supporting points (phrases)

quotations (written out)

all supporting technical details, statistics, and sources (listed)

closing (complete sentences)

notes on visual aids (in caps or boldface)

Opening statement

Point with support

Point (purpose or goal) [VISUAL 1]

Body (with 3–5 main points)

Supporting details

Closing statement

Point, including restatement of purpose

Point, possibly a call to action [VISUAL 2]

Manuscript: Use the guidelines below if you plan to write out your presentation word for word as you plan to give it:

double-space pages (or cards)

number pages (or cards)

use complete sentences on a page (do not run sentences from one page to another)

mark difficult words for pronunciation

mark script for interpretation (See these symbols .)

Writing Presentations in Outline Form

Report on FACC’s Confidentiality Procedure

Opening: The opening is written out word for word and placed in boldface. Good afternoon, everyone. I appreciate this opportunity to report on our work here at the Family and Children’s Coalition. Today I want to focus on one topic that impacts all of our work—the new Confidentiality Procedure that was adopted last week. We believe this procedure will help us serve our clients more effectively. We think it’s an effective tool because . . .

it is based on sound policy,

it will help the staff implement the policy in a uniform manner, and

it will enable staff and clients to develop trusting relationships with each other.

Italics and brackets signal a speaker’s prompt. [ Identify the handout and read the policy. ]

First, let’s examine four strengths of the policy on which the new procedure is based. Note how the policy . . . Middle: Main points are stated as full sentences (word for word).

enables clients to control most personal information.

calls for written records of who receives case-related information.

satisfies legal requirements related to privacy issues.

helps staff and clients develop trust.

[ Identify the handout and read the procedure. ]

Second, the Confidentiality Procedure will help staff members deal with confidentiality issues in a consistent, uniform manner. Note how the procedure . . .

Supporting details are listed as phrases. The speaker uses the phrases as cues and comments on each point. lists issues that counselors must explain to clients at intake.

sets guidelines for releasing information to outside parties.

explains a client’s recourse to a staff member’s breach of confidentiality.

promotes the uniform application of the Confidentiality Policy—particularly by new staff and student interns.

Middle: Entire text is double-spaced for easy reading. Third, the Confidentiality Procedure will help staff and clients establish the trusting relationships FACC needs in order to provide its services.

Clients needing a confidential advocate often come to intake sessions fearful and suspicious.

Quotations are written out word for word in boldface. abused wife with child: “How do I know he won’t find out that we are here? He said if I say anything, . . . he’ll kill me.”

pregnant teenager: “Thanks for listening . . . I just had to tell somebody.”

Clients become less fearful because they view the policy and procedure as contracts—that the information collected will be kept in confidence.

Clients become less fearful because they feel information will be kept private from outsiders—staff can say that the Confidentiality Procedure does not allow them to release information.

Closing: The closing is written out and placed in boldface. As you know, the work that we do at the Family and Children’s Coalition requires that our staff and clients have trusting, confidential relationships with each other. To build such relationships, and to satisfy legal requirements related to privacy issues, FACC has long had a Confidentiality Policy. However, the staff believes that the new Confidentiality Procedure will help them provide better service to clients because the procedure . . .

is based on sound policy,

improves uniform application of that policy, and

helps staff members and clients develop trusting relationships.

The speaker recaps main points and asks for questions. Are there any questions?

Writing Presentations in Manuscript Form

Opening: [SLIDE 1] The title is projected. [SLIDE 1] Abix Technologies: Finding the Right Solutions

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to Abix Technologies! This is Lynn, your tour guide, and I’m Zachary Clark, Director of Public Relations at Abix. Lynn will soon be taking you on a walk through our Reception Center, a research lab, and a manufacturing facility. The speaker delivers the speech as it appears on the page. During that tour, she will give you a lot of information and answer all of your questions. However, before Lynn takes over, I want to personally welcome each of you to Abix. In addition, I’d like to introduce you to our company by saying a few things about who we are, what we produce, and the people we serve.

Middle: [SLIDE 2] monument [SLIDE 2] First, who are we? The inscription on the monument that you passed when entering the building answers the question with these words: [SLIDE 3] “Abix Technologies is an international corporation that provides [SLIDE 3] inscription technological solutions to environmental wastewater problems.” What does that mean? It means that at Abix Technologies, [SLIDES 4-8] people mentioned [SLIDE 4] we have scientists who research wastewater problems and propose solutions. [SLIDE 5] We have engineers who develop products to implement those solutions. [SLIDE 6] We have people who produce the products. [SLIDE 7] We have sales personnel who market our products around the world. [SLIDE 8] And finally, we have technicians who service what we sell, wherever we sell it.

[SLIDE 9] company headquarters [SLIDE 9] Second, what do we produce? While Abix Technologies makes a wide variety of products for many different applications, it specializes in technology that disinfects wastewater. These products are

All points and supporting details are stated. well researched,

environmentally safe, and

cost effective.

Middle: [SLIDE 10] researchers [SLIDE 10] For example, as you tour the laboratory today, you’ll meet researchers who have been working on a particularly challenging problem for more than 3 years. Though they needed only 10 months to find a solution, more than 2 years later, they’re still refining it. Why? Because at Abix, products must not only solve problems—they must do so in ways that are environmentally safe and cost effective.

[SLIDE 11] products [SLIDE 11] Third, who uses our products? The short answer to this question is “Smart people around the world!” In fact, as you visit the Shipping Department today, you’ll see crews packaging products that will be sent to sites on three continents.

However, the longer answer to the question about our customer base is that our markets include [SLIDES 12-19] markets mentioned [SLIDE 12] the United States, [SLIDE 13] Canada, [SLIDE 14] South America, [SLIDE 15] Europe, [SLIDE 16] Australia, [SLIDE 17] New Zealand, [SLIDE 18] the Middle East, [SLIDE 19] and the Far East. While serving such a broad clientele is not easy, we do it well for two reasons:

[SLIDE 20] statement 1 [SLIDE 20] We carefully assess each customer’s needs to make sure that the products we sell meet those needs.

[SLIDE 21] statement 2 [SLIDE 21] We have offices in Sydney, Australia; London, England; Detroit, Michigan; and Toronto, Ontario. Each office has highly trained technicians who respond to our customers quickly and effectively.

Closing: [SLIDE 22] monument The main point is restated and polite close is added. [SLIDE 22] While I’d like to tell you more, Lynn will show you these things for yourselves. So once again, welcome to Abix Technologies! I’m glad that you’re here, and I hope that you enjoy the tour!

Business people commonly create audio-visual presentations on platforms such as PowerPoint and Prezi because this multimedia approach can powerfully reinforce and clarify a message. To use presentation software effectively, follow the guidelines below.

Develop a design. Be sure your graphic design fits your topic and your audience—businesslike for a serious topic, casual for a team meeting, and so on.

Create pages. If a main idea has several parts, present each one on its own page. Each click should reveal a new detail.

Use transitions. Dissolves, fades, wipes, and other transitional effects refine a digitial presentation and keep the audience’s attention (as long as the devices don’t detract from the message).

Try animation. Text can be animated to appear from off screen at just the right moment. Graphics can be made to appear one element at a time, and illustrations can change before the viewer’s eyes. Remember to use special effects, especially animation, wisely.

Add sound. Just as graphics and animation can enhance a presentation, so, too, can sound. Music can serve as an intro or backdrop, and sound effects can add emphasis. Voice recordings can add authority and help drive home key points.

Fine-tune your presentation. Practice delivering your presentation while clicking through your slides. Try it with an audience of coworkers, if possible, and ask for their input.

Check for word choice and style. Make sure that the words on the screen are keywords. Use these words as talking points—don’t try to cover any point word for word. Also, check that transitions, animations, and sounds are smooth and not disruptive.

Edit the final version. Check spelling, punctuation, usage, and other mechanics. Remember: On-screen errors are glaringly obvious to many people.

Rehearse. Practice running the equipment until you can use it with confidence.

Make a backup copy. Protect all the effort you invested in your presentation.

Research shows that less than 40 percent of your message is communicated by your words. More than 60 percent is communicated by your delivery—your voice, body language, and attitude. In other words, rehearsing the delivery of a presentation is at least as important as revising the script.

Rehearsing Your Presentation

Keep going over your presentation until you’re comfortable with it. Ask a family member or coworker to listen to you and offer feedback, or use a video recorder so that you can see and hear yourself. Practice these things:

Maintain eye contact with your audience. It helps people feel that you care about them. It also helps you notice how people are responding to your message.

Speak loudly and clearly. Also speak at an appropriate speed.

Take your time. Glance at your notes when necessary.

Use your hands to communicate. Practice using natural, unforced gestures.

Maintain a comfortable, erect posture. Avoid the following:

folding your arms across your chest.

clasping your hands behind you.

keeping your hands on your hips.

rocking back and forth.

fidgeting with objects.

chewing gum.

Use your voice effectively. You can mark your copy for vocal variety by using the techniques that follow.

Marking Your Script

Checklist Overcoming Stage Fright

Your goal is to deliver your presentation with confidence, ease, and comfort.

While it’s okay to feel a little nervous before a presentation (the emotion keeps you alert), stage fright can limit your ability to communicate. The remedy for stage fright follows:

Personal Presentation

Know your subject well.

Rehearse the presentation thoroughly, including the use of visuals .

Schedule your time carefully, making sure to arrive early.

Relax by stretching or doing a deep-breathing exercise.

The Room and Equipment

See that the room is clean, comfortable, and well lit.

Make sure tables and chairs are set up and arranged correctly.

Check that equipment is in place and working.

Test microphone volume.

Position the screen and displays for good visibility.

Personal Details

Check clothing and hair.

Arrange for drinking water to be available.

Put your script and handouts in place.

Speaking Strategies

Greet individuals as they arrive for the presentation.

Learn some people’s names.

Be confident, positive, and energetic.

Provide for audience participation; survey the audience.

Speak up and speak clearly—don’t rush.

Reword and clarify when necessary.

After the presentation, ask for questions and answer them clearly.

Thank the audience.

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. . . . If you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

—Jerry Seinfeld

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Chapter 6: Developing Presentations

39 Methods of Presentation Delivery

The importance of delivery.

photo of a young woman delivering a presentation

Delivery is what you are probably most concerned about when it comes to giving presentations. This chapter is designed to help you give the best delivery possible and eliminate some of the nervousness you might be feeling. To do that, you should first dismiss the myth that public speaking is just reading and talking at the same time. Speaking in public has more formality than talking. During a speech, you should present yourself professionally. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must wear a suit or “dress up”, but it does mean making yourself presentable by being well groomed and wearing clean, appropriate clothes. It also means being prepared to use language correctly and appropriately for the audience and the topic, to make eye contact with your audience, and to look like you know your topic very well.

While speaking has more formality than talking, it has less formality than reading. Speaking allows for flexibility, meaningful pauses, eye contact, small changes in word order, and vocal emphasis. Reading is a more or less exact replication of words on paper without the use of any nonverbal interpretation. Speaking, as you will realize if you think about excellent speakers you have seen and heard, provides a more animated message.

Methods of Presentation Delivery

There are four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a presentation.

Impromptu Speaking

Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings. Self-introductions in group settings are examples of impromptu speaking: “Hi, my name is Steve, and I’m an account manager.” Another example of impromptu presenting occurs when you answer a question such as, “What did you think of the report?” Your response has not been preplanned, and you are constructing your arguments and points as you speak. Even worse, you might find yourself going into a meeting and your boss says, “I want you to talk about the last stage of the project. . . “ and you had no warning.

The advantage of this kind of speaking is that it’s spontaneous and responsive in an animated group context. The disadvantage is that the speaker is given little or no time to contemplate the central theme of his or her message. As a result, the message may be disorganized and difficult for listeners to follow.

Here is a step-by-step guide that may be useful if you are called upon to give an impromptu presentation in public:

Impromptu presentations:  the presentation of a short message without advance preparation . Impromptu presentations are generally most successful when they are brief and focus on a single point.

For additional advice on impromptu speaking, watch the following 4 minute video from Toastmasters: Impromptu Speaking

Manuscript Presentations

Manuscript presentations  are the word-for-word iteration of a written message . In a manuscript presentation, the speaker maintains their attention on the printed page except when using visual aids. The advantage of reading from a manuscript is the exact repetition of original words. In some circumstances this can be extremely important. For example, reading a statement about your organization’s legal responsibilities to customers may require that the original words be exact.

A manuscript presentation may be appropriate at a more formal affair (like a report to shareholders), when your presentation must be said exactly as written in order to convey the proper emotion or decorum the situation deserves.

However, there are costs involved in manuscript presentations. First, it’s typically an uninteresting way to present. Unless the presenter has rehearsed the reading as a complete performance animated with vocal expression and gestures, the presentation tends to be dull. Keeping one’s eyes glued to the script prevents eye contact with the audience. For this kind of “straight” manuscript presentation to hold audience attention, the audience must be already interested in the message and presenter before the delivery begins.

It is worth noting that professional speakers, actors, news reporters, and politicians often read from an autocue device, commonly called a teleprompter, especially when appearing on television, where eye contact with the camera is crucial. With practice, a presenter can achieve a conversational tone and give the impression of speaking extemporaneously and maintaining eye contact while using an autocue device. However, success in this medium depends on two factors: (1) the presenter is already an accomplished public speaker who has learned to use a conversational tone while delivering a prepared script, and (2) the presentation is written in a style that sounds conversational and in spoken rather than written, edited English.

Extemporaneous Presentations

Extemporaneous presentations  are carefully planned and rehearsed presentations, delivered in a conversational manner using brief notes . By using notes rather than a full manuscript, the extemporaneous presenter can establish and maintain eye contact with the audience and assess how well they are understanding the presentation as it progresses. Without all the words on the page to read, you have little choice but to look up and make eye contact with your audience.

Watch the following 10 minute video of a champion speaker presenting his extemporaneous speech: 2017 International Extemporaneous Speaking National Champion — Connor Rothschild Speech

Presenting extemporaneously has some advantages. It promotes the likelihood that you, the speaker, will be perceived as knowledgeable and credible since you know the speech well  enough that you don’t need to read it. In addition, your audience is likely to pay better attention to the message because it is engaging both verbally and nonverbally. It also allows flexibility; you are working from the strong foundation of an outline, but if you need to delete, add, or rephrase something at the last minute or to adapt to your audience, you can do so.

The disadvantage of extemporaneous presentations is that it in some cases it does not allow for the verbal and the nonverbal preparation that are almost always required for a good speech.

Adequate preparation cannot be achieved the day before you’re scheduled to present, so be aware that if you want to present a credibly delivered speech, you will need to practice many times. Because extemporaneous presenting is the style used in the great majority of business presentation situations, most of the information in the subsequent sections of this chapter is targeted toward this kind of speaking.

Memorized Speaking

Memorized speakin g is the recitation of a written message that the speaker has committed to memory. Actors , of course, recite from memory whenever they perform from a script in a stage play, television program, or movie scene. When it comes to speeches, memorization can be useful when the message needs to be exact and the speaker doesn’t want to be confined by notes.

The advantage to memorization is that it enables the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout the speech. Being free of notes means that you can move freely around the stage and use your hands to make gestures. If your speech uses visual aids, this freedom is even more of an advantage. However, there are some real and potential costs.

First, unless you also plan and memorize every vocal cue (the subtle but meaningful variations in speech delivery, which can include the use of pitch, tone, volume, and pace), gesture, and facial expression, your presentation will be flat and uninteresting, and even the most fascinating topic will suffer. Second, if you lose your place and start trying to ad lib, the contrast in your style of delivery will alert your audience that something is wrong. More frighteningly, if you go completely blank during the presentation, it will be extremely difficult to find your place and keep going. Obviously, memorizing a typical seven-minute presentation takes a great deal of time and effort, and if you aren’t used to memorizing, it is very difficult to pull off. Realistically, you probably will not have the time necessary to give a completely memorized speech. However, if you practice adequately, your approach will still feel like you are being extemporaneous.

Communication for Business Professionals by eCampusOntario is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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47 CFR § 1.1202

Scoping language

presentation chapter meaning

Basic tasks for creating a PowerPoint presentation

PowerPoint presentations work like slide shows. To convey a message or a story, you break it down into slides. Think of each slide as a blank canvas for the pictures and words that help you tell your story.

Choose a theme

When you open PowerPoint, you’ll see some built-in themes and templates. A theme is a slide design that contains matching colors, fonts, and special effects like shadows, reflections, and more.

On the File tab of the Ribbon, select New , and then choose a theme.

PowerPoint shows you a preview of the theme, with four color variations to choose from on the right side.

Click Create , or pick a color variation and then click Create .

Shows the Create New presentation from Theme dialog in PowerPoint

Read more: Use or create themes in PowerPoint

Insert a new slide

On the Home tab, click the bottom half of  New Slide , and pick a slide layout.

Shows New Slide button on Home tab of the ribbon in PowerPoint

Read more: Add, rearrange, and delete slides .

Save your presentation

On the File tab, choose Save .

Pick or browse to a folder.

In the File name box, type a name for your presentation, and then choose Save .

Note:  If you frequently save files to a certain folder, you can ‘pin’ the path so that it is always available (as shown below).

Save your PowerPoint presentation

Tip:  Save your work as you go. Press Ctrl+S often or save the file to OneDrive and let AutoSave take care of it for you. 

Read more: Save your presentation file

Select a text placeholder, and begin typing.

Shows adding text to a text field in PowerPoint

Format your text

Select the text.

Under Drawing Tools , choose Format .

Shows the Drawing Tools tab on the ribbon in PowerPoint

Do one of the following:

To change the color of your text, choose Text Fill , and then choose a color.

To change the outline color of your text, choose Text Outline , and then choose a color.

To apply a shadow, reflection, glow, bevel, 3-D rotation, a transform, choose Text Effects , and then choose the effect you want.

Change the fonts

Change the color of text on a slide

Add bullets or numbers to text

Format text as superscript or subscript

Add pictures

On the Insert tab, do one of the following:

To insert a picture that is saved on your local drive or an internal server, choose Pictures , browse for the picture, and then choose Insert .

To insert a picture from the web, choose Online Pictures , and use the search box to find a picture.

Insert Pictures dialog in PowerPoint

Choose a picture, and then click Insert .

You can add shapes to illustrate your slide. 

On the Insert tab, select Shapes , and then select a shape from the menu that appears.

In the slide area, click and drag to draw the shape.

Select the Format or Shape Format tab on the ribbon. Open the Shape Styles gallery to quickly add a color and style (including shading) to the selected shape.

Shape Styles group

Add speaker notes

Slides are best when you don’t cram in too much information. You can put helpful facts and notes in the speaker notes, and refer to them as you present.

notes button in PowerPoint

Click inside the Notes pane below the slide, and begin typing your notes.

Shows the speaker Notes pane in PowerPoint

Add speaker notes to your slides

Print slides with or without speaker notes

Give your presentation

On the Slide Show tab, do one of the following:

To start the presentation at the first slide, in the Start Slide Show group, click From Beginning .

Shows the Slide Show tab on the ribbon in PowerPoint

If you’re not at the first slide and want to start from where you are, click From Current Slide .

If you need to present to people who are not where you are, click Present Online to set up a presentation on the web, and then choose one of the following options:

Broadcast your PowerPoint presentation online to a remote audience

View your speaker notes as you deliver your slide show.

Get out of Slide Show view

To get out of Slide Show view at any time, on the keyboard, press Esc .

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When you start a new presentation PowerPoint, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a theme or template. A theme is a slide design that contains matching colors, fonts, and special effects like shadows, reflections, and more.

On the File tab, select New , and then, under Available Templates and Themes , choose Themes .

As you click each theme, PowerPoint shows you a preview on the right side.

When you find the one you want, click Create .

Shows a preview of a theme

Tip:  Save your work as you go. Press Ctrl+S often.

On the Insert tab, choose Picture .

Browse for the picture you want, and then choose Insert .

Select the Drawing Tools Format tab on the ribbon. Open the Shape Styles gallery to quickly add a color and style (including shading) to the selected shape.

Shape Styles group

Slides are best when you don’t cram in too much information. You can put helpful facts and notes in the speaker notes, and refer to them as you present. In Normal view, the Notes pane is located just below the slide view window.

On the View tab, in the Presentation Views group, click Normal .

Shows the Notes pane below the slide window

If you need to present to people who are not where you are, click Broadcast Slide Show to set up a presentation on the web. To learn more, see Broadcast your PowerPoint presentation to a remote audience .

Tips for creating an effective presentation

Consider the following tips to keep your audience interested.

Minimize the number of slides

To maintain a clear message and to keep your audience attentive and interested, keep the number of slides in your presentation to a minimum.

Choose an audience-friendly font size

The audience must be able to read your slides from a distance. Generally speaking, a font size smaller than 30 might be too difficult for the audience to see.

Keep your slide text simple

You want your audience to listen to you present your information, instead of reading the screen. Use bullets or short sentences, and try to keep each item to one line.

Some projectors crop slides at the edges, so that long sentences might be cropped.

Use visuals to help express your message

Pictures, charts, graphs, and SmartArt graphics provide visual cues for your audience to remember. Add meaningful art to complement the text and messaging on your slides.

As with text, however, avoid including too many visual aids on your slide.

Make labels for charts and graphs understandable

Use only enough text to make label elements in a chart or graph comprehensible.

Apply subtle, consistent slide backgrounds

Choose an appealing, consistent template or theme that is not too eye-catching. You don't want the background or design to detract from your message.

However, you also want to provide a contrast between the background color and text color. The built-in themes in PowerPoint set the contrast between a light background with dark colored text or dark background with light colored text.

For more information about how to use themes, see Apply a theme to add color and style to your presentation .

Check the spelling and grammar

To earn and maintain the respect of your audience, always check the spelling and grammar in your presentation .

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  5. Project

  6. Detail Definition of presentations


  1. What Does “discrimination” Mean?

    Discrimination is the act of treating a person differently — negatively or positively — because of that person’s race, class, sexual orientation or gender or any other group to which that person belongs, rather than assessing individual nee...

  2. What Is the Meaning of Scientific Thinking?

    Scientific thinking involves applying skepticism to ideas and forming testable hypotheses. This type of thinking can lead to experiments, and it can help people develop skills for determining whether something they hear or see is true.

  3. How Many Chapters Are There in the New Testament?

    The New Testament of the Bible is composed of 260 chapters spread across 27 books. Matthew and Acts have the most chapters at 28 each. Four books have only one chapter: Philemon, Second John, Third John and Jude.

  4. Chapter Presentation

    Chapter Presentation. Watch later. Share. Copy link. Info. Shopping. Tap to unmute. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your

  5. Parts of a Presentation

    Parts of a Presentation. All types of presentations consist of three basic parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.

  6. What is a Presentation?

    One could define a ''presentation'' as a talk given out loud by one or more people. There are many scenarios that involve presentations. A

  7. Brief presentation definition and meaning

    Example sentences. brief presentation. These examples have been automatically selected and may contain sensitive content that does not reflect the opinions or

  8. Chapter 14: Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas

    Time management is the key to delivering an effective presentation whether it is face-to-face or in PowerPoint. As you develop your outline, think about the

  9. How to Structure a PowerPoint Presentation: A Detailed Guide

    The introduction sets the tone for the entire presentation and explains what the audience will come away with after viewing it. Here are the

  10. Chapter 20: Developing Presentations

    The first step in preparing an oral presentation is getting an overview of the task. Begin by asking yourself What is my subject? What is my purpose? and Who is

  11. 12.1 Organizing a Visual Presentation

    Presentations can be stressful, but planning and preparation, when the time and opportunity are available, can make all the difference. This chapter covers how

  12. 39. Methods of Presentation Delivery

    Delivery is what you are probably most concerned about when it comes to giving presentations. This chapter is designed to help you give the best delivery

  13. Definition: Presentation. from 47 CFR § 1.1202

    Presentation. A communication directed to the merits or outcome of a proceeding, including any attachments to a written communication or documents shown in

  14. Basic tasks for creating a PowerPoint presentation

    PowerPoint presentations work like slide shows. To convey a message or a story, you break it down into slides. Think of each slide as a blank canvas for the