Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Who doesn’t love a greasy, gooey burger, or the perfect pairing of Pinot Noir and Gruyere? A delicious meal is unforgettable.
And this is no accident. The sandwich artist, the head chef, the gourmet cook, all meticulously plan, search for the best ingredients, use the best grills and ovens, and perfectly place their food creation on a dish for their audience, the consumer. Everything is intentional, nothing is out of place, it ALL matters... yes, even the bun.
This is my Building the Sandwich philosophy for structuring a presentation. Start with a pop, a delicious first taste for your audience engaged from the start. A personal story, a joke, an astonishing statistic. Reel in your audience right away!
Then, transition smoothly into your first major point or content piece. And remember, just because your introduction is done doesn't mean it's irrelevant. This first layer of content should contain hints of your introduction. Perhaps a glimpse of your opening anecdote or joke punchline shows up as your exploring content. While the audience is now engaged with content, it's thoughtful and the sign of a seasoned storyteller, to remind them of important notions you've already laid out for them.
Now, effectively layer content piece on top of content piece. Say your presenting on the mechanics of building a bicycle. Will it make sense to the audience to transition from oiling the gears to adding safety flashers? Would that be the natural progression for constructing a bike? Probably not. While this may seem obvious, it is critically important to logically, and creatively, transition from point to point. Just because it may make sense to you, doesn't mean it will for your audience.
Once you've covered your content, you're finished, right? The audience got what they came for and will walk away with the knowledge you've imparted on them. Not in the slightest. It is the presenters responsibility to send the audience off an a spectacular note. Leave them on an emotional high with a rousing call to action! Shed their tears by invoking a touching personal memory. Drop a piece of information they have never heard before, something that will get them chatting as they leave the room, as they eat dinner with their families, as they mingle with co-workers the next day around the coffee pot.
And this is the goal; an affected audience. Sure, a standing ovation will make you feel nice, but it's not about you. It's about the audience. If they are inspired to stand and cheer, wonderful. But a presenters goal is to entertain and affect the audience. And a perfectly layered, meticulously planned presentation will do that.