How to structure your message logically before you start writing your presentation slides

structure your message logically

Introduction

Proven Blueprint to create a clear, memorable, and persuasive presentation slides that get results, whether it is for TED Talk, Conference, Startup/Company pitch, Project Management Deck, Digital Marketing Plan, Performance Metrics/Dashboard, freelancer pitch or personal CV. Here are the 6 steps to create CLEAR x MEMORABLE x PERSUASIVE presentation slides:

Clear Memorable Persuasive Presentation Templates

Step 3: Structure your message to help your audience to stay on track

How often have you sat through a presentation and found your attention wandering after a few minutes? One of the easiest ways to lose your audience is to have content that jumps around all over the place. People like a clear, logical structure that is easy to follow, and get frustrated when it is muddled. If people cannot follow what you say easily, they will switch off because it takes too much effort. Spending time coming up with a coherent structure is time extremely well spent. Make sure each point segues smoothly into the next and signpost where you are.

Use "Situation-Challenge-Question-Core Message-Details-Close" framework to write down the Skeleton of the presentation

  1. Situation: Bring your audience to the story by painting the situation. Everything in the situation should be factual. Think of this as an introduction or background to the problem you are about to solve.
  2. Challenge: Something happens since the background that make life difficult. It could be a complication, a complexity or a challenge.
  3. Question: With the situation and challenge you are facing, what question you need to ask (or the question raised by the audience)?
  4. Overview of your core message: Start with an overview. Tell them at high level what you are going to cover.
  5. Give them the detail: There are several ways of organizing the main section of your presentation, including
    • Presenting a problem and solution
    • Listing ideas in order of importance
    • Talking about the past, present and future
    • Steps by steps approach which leads to your core message/conclusion

The Magic of Three: Use THREE major points to support your core message. There are in the McKinsey world three reasons for anything and everything. The golden rule is to strive for three major supports. Two major points are fine, 4 major points are OK…. But the target has to be 3!

The Magic of Parallelism:Write your points with a similar form of speech. For example, each begins with an “action verb” – “Improve”, “Host”, “Partner” or noun. The “parallelism” helps the audience understand what your points are about.

6. Summarize & Close. This simple repetition also helps reinforce your message for maximum impact.

If you are looking for completeness in a phrase, then use groups of three; threes seem to have a psychological effect on humans that is satisfying, fulfilling, and convincing.

Harvard Management Communication Letter, August 2000 Tweet

Add supporting material to your three key points

Once you have write the structure of the main section, you then need to add supporting material to your three key points. You sometimes will find that you have lots of supporting materials, how can I keep it into only the magic 3 points?

The answer is practice data chunking.  Check to ensure that all information related to one topic is together. For example, all the people-related go under the “People” section, product-related go under the “Products” section, and so on.

Evidence, is essential for a powerful presentation. It comes in 2 types: Qualitative and Quantitative. There are feelings and facts; abstract and concrete; heart and head. A consumer’s first response to a television commercial is based on how they feel about it. If they feel positively toward the product, then they listen for facts and findings to validate their feelings.

The key to persuasive supporting material is therefore to balance feelings and facts, emotion and logic.

Examples of qualitative (feelings-based) and quantitative material (facts-based):

Qualitative Material (Feelings-based)

Quantitative Material (Facts-based)

Customer Testimonials

Statistics

Audience Participation

Analysis

Personal stories and examples

Financial reports

Quotations and Anecdotes

Market Research

Humor

Product specifications

Photos and Cartoons

Data (e.g. Demographics, Sales)

Where can you find supporting material?

There are lots of ways to find supporting materials. To name a few below:

  • The Internet: Search engines and online research sites
  • Your own personal experience, education, observations and insights
  • Your organization’s intranet, files, videos and libraries
  • Media reports and documentaries
  • Annual reports
  • Budgets and financial reports
  • Newspaper
  • Newsletter
  • Marketing material
  • Catalogs and product specification sheets
  • Audio and video programs (e.g. TED Talks, YouTube Channel)
  • Books
  • Interviews/ Surveys
  • Libraries 
  • Trade Magazines applicable to your subject

Example: Writing your message skeleton using Slideblueprint template

We will use the “Situation-Challenge-Question-Core Message-Details-Close” framework to write down the Skeleton of the presentation, using the template below

Clear Memorable Persuasive Presentation Templates

Remember ... Plan the presentation from audience’s point of view

If you follow our 6 steps approach, you have collected lots of information about your audience in step 1.  Before you move on, it is important for you to sense check whether all materials you planned so far answer the questions raised by your audience you list in Step 1.

That means:

  1. Including material that is relevant to the audience
  2. Saying how something will be of benefit to them
  3. Giving examples they can relate to
  4. Discussing issues they find of concern
  5. Engaging them at a personal level

Now ACTION !

To help you write your presentation skeleton, the worksheet with template “Structure your message logically" is created.

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