Organizing the Structure

There are many different ways to structure a presentation. The one you choose should be determined by the purpose of your presentation. In a thesis defense, the purpose is usually to inform and provide a convincing argument about the value of your work as a significant contribution to your content area. Here are a few suggestions for structuring the content of your presentation:

Opening: You should always have some sort of opening to your presentation to get your audience focused on what you have to say.

Purpose: Let your audience know what you hope they will get from your presentation, what you are going to tell them about.

Body of Presentation: This is the main content of your presentation. This section should connect directly to your opening and purpose. The following are some possible methods of structuring this section of your presentation:

  • Chronological/historical: past, present, future
  • Sequential: first, second, third
  • Geographical: north, south, east, west
  • Categorical: oranges, apples, bananas
  • Compare and Contrast: negative vs. positive, our side vs. their side
  • Hierarchical: top, middle, bottom
  • Review of options: option 1, option 2, option 3, recommendation
  • Expanding radius: individual, neighbourhood, community

Closing: The most important part about the closing is to have one! Here are some suggestions for closing:

  • Close your presentation by referring to your purpose
  • Summarize the main points of your presentation
  • Make a statement
  • End the way you began
  • Thank your audience