This image is from one of Dr. Bailey's books: The Practical Writer (7th edition) Model

Home | Model | Cover | Explanation | Purpose | Bottom Line | Blueprint
Moving Blueprint | Body | Ending | Sample | Quiz | Handout

What's the basic structure of a presentation?

Before we look at the model, let's assume you have the most common design for your presentation:

Common design for a presentation

In other words, you have an introduction, a body with several parts, and a conclusion. Pretty standard. But where do you go from there? That's what the model does for you.

What's the model?

The model tells you:

  • What slides to have in your introduction.
  • How to begin each part of the body of your presentation.
  • What to put in your conclusion.

So here's the model—look especially at the introduction:

Model for a presentation: introduction Model for a presentation: 1st part of body
Model for a presentation: 2nd part of body Model for a presentation: 3rd part of body
Model for a presentation: conclusion

Simple. But also very powerful. It leads your audience (and you!) step by step, logically, through your presentation. It's the sort of structure your audience cannot get lost in.

Sample presentation following the model

Now let's look at a sample presentation following the model (again, look especially at the introduction):



Sample presentation: cover slide Sample presentation: explanation slide
Sample presentation: purpose slide Sample presentation: bottom line slide

Sample presentation: blueprint slide

Moving blueprint and body slides

Sample presentation: 1st moving blueprint slide Sample presentation: body slides for 1st part
Sample presentation: 2nd moving blueprint slide Sample presentation: body slides for 2nd part
Sample presentation: 3rd moving blueprint slide Sample presentation: body slides for 3rd part


Sample presentation: conclusion

A presentation with a clear structure like this one becomes easy to deliver.

So far, we've treated the body of the presentation as though it has three parts. Does that mean all presentations must have three—exactly three—parts? No. The body can have any number of parts. Usually you want to limit it to no more than five parts, though. That makes the presentation simpler to follow.

Two extra slides for a computer presentation

For a computer presentation (rather than a transparency presentation), I add two slides. At the beginning and end of my presentation, I put opaque slides:

Sample opaque slide

Here's why:

  • Opaque slide at the beginning. When I arrive for my presentation, I set up my equipment, turn it on, load my file, and project the first slide—which is opaque. When the audience comes in, they see nothing on the screen, which appears to be blank. That way, I'm ready to go, but I'm not showing my cover slide before I'm ready to. I'm "showing" the opaque slide. One click and the cover slide is on!
  • Opaque slide at the end. Rather than finish the presentation with the image of a slide on the screen or the PowerPoint desktop showing, I simply make my last slide opaque, too. When I click to that, the questions are over and so is the presentation. The screen appears, to the audience, to be blank. But, again, I'm "showing" the opaque slide.

Instead of showing opaque slides, you may want to show your company's logo.

Your next step

There's much more to learn. Your next step is the cover slide.

Copyright 2007 by Edward P. Bailey
(all rights reserved)