Acing a technical talk: A session structure template

Without any ado, here’s the structure that I recommend:

Presentation Stage Notes Learning Stage

Introduction

Grab Attention Attention, Motivation & Confidence Selection
WIIFM, YCDI
State the Central Idea Recall & Relate to existing knowledge Linking

Body

  1. Main Point
    1. Sub-Point/ Example
    2. Sub-Point/ Example
    3. Sub-Point/ Example
  2. Main Point
    1. Sub-Point/ Example
    2. Sub-Point/ Example
    3. Sub-Point/ Example
  3. Main Point
    1. Sub-Point/ Example
    2. Sub-Point/ Example
    3. Sub-Point/ Example
Structuring Content,
Setting Objectives,
Presenting Content,
Presenting Examples
Organisation,
Assimilation
  1. Main Point
    1. Sub-Point/ Example
    2. Sub-Point/ Example
    3. Sub-Point/ Example
  2. Main Point
    1. Sub-Point/ Example
    2. Sub-Point/ Example
    3. Sub-Point/ Example
Maximum 5, only if you are super sure! ūüôā

Conclusion

Recap Main Points
Restate the Central Idea
Summary,
Feedback
Reinforcement
Call to Action Practice, Testing, On-the-job training

Why do I recommend it? Because it serves the purpose of my presentations and I feel, of any presentation in general.

The purpose of your presentation

While defining the aim or purpose of their presentation, people often work with the question

Why am I presenting?

which is a very vague question that may or may not help you. For eg, the following could be some of the many possible answers.

  1. I want to demonstrate and promote my product or a great useful product.
  2. I want to teach people a skill.
  3. I want to teach people a concept.
  4. I want to share my experience of doing something.

That’s not the aim, but the intention. The question that’ll lead you to the aim should rather be

What do I want people in the audience to do because of my presentation?

This question applied to the earlier examples, gives us something more specific:

  1. I want them to try/ use my product.
  2. I want them to be able to complete a task in a better way with fewer problems.
  3. I want people to realise the the true nature of a concept in depth and clear misconceptions and misunderstandings.
  4. I want people to avoid my mistakes and adopt the practices that worked for me.

labyrinth-1015639_640In other words, you want the audience to do something in a particular way because they will learn it from you.

In the previous posts, I have discussed how people learn things. In the table above, I have associated the relevant stage of your presentation with the stage of learning involved. We will go into the details in a subsequent post along with a worksheet to help plan your session. At this stage, however, I’d like to leave you with a couple of questions:

  1. Why only 3 main points (maximum 5)? (Hint: chunking)
  2. What is the central idea of your presentation?
  3. What is a call to action?

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