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Types of Presentations

Randall P. Whatley

The first step in preparing a presentation is to define the purpose of your presentation.

The following is an overview of several common types of presentations and their purpose. Each presentation type requires a specific organization technique to assure they are understood and remembered by the audience. The suggested organizational structure is also provided.

1. Informative

Keep an informative presentation brief and to the point. Stick to the facts and avoid complicated information. Choose one of the following organizational structures for an informative presentation:

Time
Explains when things should happen
Works best with visual people or people who can see the overall organization or sequence of events
Use words like first, second, third, to list order

Place
Explains where things should happen
Works best with people who understand the group or area you are talking about
Use words like Region 1, 2, 3, or 4 to explain order

Cause and Effect
Explains how things should happen
Works best with people who understand the relationship between events
Use phrases like Because of ____________, we now have to ___________

Logical Order
Simply list items in their order of importance
Works best with people who are accustomed to breaking down complex data into components in order to digest the material

2. Instructional

Your purpose in an instructional presentation is to give specific directions or orders. Your presentation will probably be a bit longer, because it has to cover your topic thoroughly. In an instructional presentation, your listeners should come away with new knowledge or a new skill.

Explain why the information or skill is valuable to the audience
Explain the learning objectives of the instructional program
Demonstrate the process if it involves something in which the audience will later participate using the following method
Demonstrate it first without comment
Demonstrate it again with a brief explanation
Demonstrate it a third time, step-by-step, with an explanation
Have the participants practice the skill
Provide participants the opportunity to ask questions, give, and receive feedback from you and their peers
Connect the learning to actual use
Have participants verbally state how they will use it

3. Arousing

Your purpose in an arousing presentation is to make people think about a certain problem or situation. You want to arouse the audienceís emotions and intellect so that they will be receptive to your point of view. Use vivid language in an arousing presentation-- project sincerity and enthusiasm.

Gain attention with a story that illustrates (and sometimes exaggerates) the problem
Show the need to solve the problem and illustrate it with an example that is general or commonplace
Describe your solution for a satisfactory resolution to the problem
Compare/contrast the two worlds with the problem solved and unsolved
Call the audience to action to help solve the problem
Give the audience a directive that is clear, easy, and immediate

4. Persuasive

Your purpose in a persuasive presentation is to convince your listeners to accept your proposal. A convincing persuasive presentation offers a solution to a controversy, dispute, or problem. To succeed with a persuasive presentation, you must present sufficient logic, evidence, and emotion to sway the audience to your viewpoint.

Create a great introduction because a persuasive presentation introduction must accomplish the following:
Seize the audiences attention
Disclose the problem or needs that your product or service will satisfy
Tantalize the audience by describing the advantages of solving the problem or need
Create a desire for the audience to agree with you by describing exactly how your product or service with fill their real needs
Close your persuasive presentation with a call to action
Ask for the order
Ask for the decision that you want to be made
Ask for the course of action that you want to be followed

5. Decision-making

Your purpose in a decision-making presentation is to move your audience to take your suggested action. A decision-making presentation presents ideas, suggestions, and arguments strongly enough to persuade an audience to carry out your requests. In a decision-making presentation, you must tell the audience what to do and how to do it. You should also let them know what will happen if the donít do what you ask.

Gain attention with a story that illustrates the problem
Show the need to solve the problem and illustrate it with an example that is general or commonplace
Describe your solution to bring a satisfactory resolution to the problem
Compare/contrast the two worlds with the problem solved and unsolved
Call the audience to action to help solve the problem and give them a way to be part of the solution

About the Author

Randall P. Whatley / Cypress Media Group, Inc.

Randall P. Whatley is president of Cypress Media Group, Inc., www.cypressmedia.net, an Atlanta-based advertising, public relations, political consulting, and training firm. He has been a government relations consultant for over 20 years. Whatley has also served as a political campaign consultant (over 50 campaigns with 30+ victories in four states) and lobbyist. Additionally, Whatley has served as an RFP consultant to both government agencies and contractors, administered government contracts, written proposals and authored handbooks that address government/layperson relations.

You can reach Randall P. Whatley at:
Box 53198, Atlanta, GA 30355
E-mail: randy@cypressmedia.net
Telephone: 770-640-9918
FAX: 770-640-9819

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