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A roadmap for the body of a presentation

Having to work through the maze of information in what is often a limited timeframe requires strategies that will ultimately save time and ensure that all essential points are covered.

A tool that I use once I've determined the audience, purpose and location of my presentation is a mind map. A mind map when used well is a very useful tool. Even though mind mapping software is available, a blank piece of paper and coloured pens are just as effective.

How to compose a mind map

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Write the purpose of your presentation in the centre of your page.
  • Jot down anything that comes to mind relevant for the presentation – order is not important. Your points will branch off from the centre and you may also have sub-points.
  • Once you've brainstormed, review your points.
  • Decide what is needed, what information can be combined and what isn't needed for this presentation.

By having all of the key points on the one page you can then prioritise your information.

Prioritising your information

To prioritise the information, follow the formula:

  • Must know – information that has the highest priority and must be covered in the presentation in the time allowed
  • Should know – information that should be covered in the presentation in the time allowed
  • Nice to know – information that would be nice to cover in the presentation however it's not essential

Look at each of your groupings of information and decide which category of the formula they fall into – this will also assist you in managing your time in your presentation.

By following this process you may also discover any gaps in information, giving you an opportunity to gather that information before developing your whole presentation. You can now organise this information into an outline. For each key point have relevant examples or a case study to support the point.

Once the body of the presentation is organised all that needs to be tackled is the opening and close.

How do you approach your presentations?


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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