To achieve your learning objectives, it is important to ensure your presentation is well-structured and well-rehearsed. A presentation generally has three elements: an opening, a body, and a closing. Each element should be structured and sequenced. Below is a high-level structure you can follow as a guide.

Opening

The opening attracts attention, discloses any relationships for potential bias, states educational objectives, and gives a rationale or statement of relevance.

  • Attention — A greeting, brief synopsis, experience, or question – usually something related, but not essential. Intended to let audiences stop talking and start listening.
  • Disclosures — All relevant financial relationships should be written in a slide and verbally disclosed to your audience. This gives the learners an opportunity to make their own judgments about any potential bias in your presentation.
  • Objectives — Tell the audience what they will be able to do differently after your talk.
  • Relevance — Demonstrate to the audience why they need to know the information you are presenting. Stress practical application, clinical management, or treatment and use real world examples whenever possible.

Body

The information your audience came to hear. Make a distinct transition from the opening.

  • Review — Bring your audience to common ground. Review briefly what you think they already know. As a guide, make sure you match the depth of your review section to your audience:
    • Beginner: Entry level; no prior knowledge of subject necessary
      • Presentations designed for beginner instruction should include definitions of all technical terms, assuming learners are hearing all information for the first time.
    • Intermediate: Refresher course; some basic knowledge required; for the experienced staff technologist with some years of experience
      • Presentations designed for intermediate instruction should include a short review of less than 5 minutes to set any technical terms, assuming learners are familiar with most of the information presented but are looking for a deeper understanding and application of knowledge.
    • Advanced: Highly technical; for those with current skills/knowledge and extensive experience in a specialty area
      • Presentations designed for advanced instruction should not spend any significant time on defining technical terms, process, or devices. It should be assumed learners have significant experience in the information presented but are looking for updates on standards, insights into breaking research, or new applications of the knowledge being presented.
  • Structure — New material is retained best when delivered in a particular sequence. Plan the sequencing in advance and share it with the audience. Reuse the outline throughout the presentation when beginning new sections.
  • New Material — Offer new material in lecture or discussion format depending on audience size.

Closing

Summarizes key points and takeaways. Important to your presentation’s success so allow sufficient time.

  • Summarize — ;Review key points.
  • Follow Up — Make sure to offer follow up resources, and if you’re willing, your contact information so your audience can follow up with questions regarding your presentation.