Current Adelaide time:

Nonverbal communication:

Articles on business communication

5 ways to structure a presentation for maximum effect

When creating an outline structure for a presentation we are about to give — whether that presentation is in writing, via personal delivery, or via multimedia — there are five basic ways to organise that structure for maximum effect:


Let's consider each in turn.


1. Structuring your presentation by Time

Let's suppose that your presentation is on the growth of internet presence in businesses.

Your thesis could be:
Businesses are rapidly increasing their presence on the internet because of market pressures.

Your organising structure could therefore be:

In January 1998 only X% of businesses had an internet presence of some sort — a website or email address — (because)

By January 2000 this had grown to Y% (because)

By January 2003 this had grown to Z% (because)

And so on, leading to your conclusion(s).


2. Structuring your presentation by Space

We should structure our new global call centre in Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide is the best location (because)
1. Access to highly trained and motivated staff
2. English is their first language
3. Cheaper cost of living compared to other mainland cities

A. It's a better choice than Brisbane, Australia (because)

B. It's a better choice than India (because)

C. It's a better choice than Ireland (because)

...and so on.


3. Structuring your presentation by Problem & Solution

This change proposal should be adopted (because)

1. There is a need for the proposed change (because)

A. There is harm in what we are currently doing

B. The harm is significant (because)

C. The harm is directly relevant to the audience (because)

2. This proposal is the best alternative (because)

A. The proposal is reasonable (because)
          example of how it will solve the problem

B. The proposal is practical (because)
          example of cost:benefit analysis

C. The proposal is desirable (because)
          example of how it solves the problems without creating new ones

3. Summary — a final upbeat statement that leaves your audience thinking positively about your proposal.


4. Structuring your presentation by Cause & Effect

Internal employee communication vehicles need to be formally introduced

Cause 1:
Employees have no direct chain of communication with senior management

Effects 1:

1. Employees are gossiping negatively over internal email and in the breakout rooms about possible managment initiatives that not even management have considered yet

2. Call centre schedule adherence times are blowing out; people are taking longer breaks than allotted, disrupting traffic and causing longer queues

3. Anecdotal evidence from floor-walking supervisors is that staff are accessing online job boards more and more

4. Engagement scores on recent half-yearly surveys are trending downwards

5. The number of unsolicited resumes sent in to the company has markedly decreased recently

Cause 2:
Managers are so busy managing KPIs and statistics that they've forgotten to manage their people

Effects 2:

1. Effect

2. Effect

3. Effect ...

Implement a formal top-down and bottom-up communication process and channel to help reduce the gossiping and increase engagement

Call to Action: Implement management blogs


5. Structuring your presentation by motivation

Based on Monroe's 1935 work, the Motivation Model is a fantastic way of structuring your ideas. It works because it follows a predictable pattern of thinking.

The steps are:

1. Attention — get their attention; make them want to pay attention

2. Need — describe a problem so that the receiver responds with "something needs to be done" or "I need this information"

3. Satisfaction — present a solution to the problem so that the receiver thinks "this is what should be done" or "this information is useful and helps me understand"

4. Visualisation — show the consequences of doing or not doing what is asked for in the 'satisfaction' stage. Your goal is to have the receiver think "if I do this I will be in a better position" or "if I don't do this I will be in a worse position"

5. Action — a call to action; you want the receiver to say "I will do as you suggest" or "I believe you" or "I now feel strongly about this".



As communicators we have access to five fantastic outlining tools to help us structure our presentations for better reception. They are:


Pick your tool and outline your way to a better communication result!



Reports I have written:

Measuring the impact and ROI of social media
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making social media work for your business
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: the new business communication landscape
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing

How to use social media to engage employees
Contributing author to How to use social media to engage employees - for Melcrum Publishing

Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing



Have you subscribed to my weekly newsletter yet?

As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.

Twitter Mastery for Business - subscribe and it's yours for free!Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.

It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.

Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.

Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.

But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.

Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]

Subscribe now!

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to

"Lee Hopkins the author of over 130 articles on business communication, and is recognised world-wide as one of Australia's leading experts in online business communication, including Social Media or Web2.0 as it's also known.

To connect with him, please email him at Lee at

Visit his site at to find many more articles on business communication. He also blogs at Whilst there, why not pick up a complimentary copy of his 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business', which explains all about this latest seismic change to the business communication landscape!" Platinum AuthorCreative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.




Follow me on TwitterFollow me on FacebookFollow me on LinkedInFollow me on YouTubeFollow me on Google+


Subscribe to my newsletter now and be the envy of world presidents

Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...


Related material :


Better Business Writing course

A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.

More details


Better Business Writing

Better Business Writing course

You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.

Well, now there is.

More details

Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!

Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now!

Social Media White Paper
(3rd Edition)

Social Media book for free

Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.

Download your free copy now (pdf)

Find out more about it (opens new window)

Vodburner rocks!
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...

What you say about Lee Hopkins:

"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "

"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"

"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "

"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "

"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"

"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"

"Oz's best social network strategist"

"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"

"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"

"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."

"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"

"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."

"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."

"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."

"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."

"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."

"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."

"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"

"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"

“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "

“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."

“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”

“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."

"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"

Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?

Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.

View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare

View leehopkins's profile on slideshare

Why does employee communication matter?

Why does employee communication matter?

Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare

For your consideration:


Your special audio report on VOIP is here!

Free VOIP report





Your special audio report on website design is here!

Free Website design report




"I communicate therefore I am"
CommsCafe mug
Available in medium and large mug sizes. You KNOW you want one!



CommsCafe mug

Available in men's and women's fittings. You KNOW you want one!

Writing for a web audience

Netwriting Masters CourseWant to write more powerfully for a web audience?...
Right-click on this image and download the pdf file to your computer's hard drive.
"The definitive guide to writing for the web"
says Lee