Strategic Presentations


  1. How can my presentation achieve its aims (e.g. to inform, to persuade)?

Your presentation can achieve its aims if the content is of value to your audience and if it is presented with the following in mind:

    • the occasion/event in mind (CONTEXT)
      • e.g., forum, sales talk, information session, conference
    • anticipation of the audience response (AUDIENCE)
      • i.e., positive, neutral or negative​
    • the purpose in mind (PURPOSE)
      • whether to inform or persuade, or both

Keeping the context, audience, and purpose (CAP) in mind will help you choose and organize the content, as well as ensure that the delivery is effective in bringing the message across.

(Video 1: Strategic Presentation )

  1. I have to make a presentation. Where do I begin?

It starts with understanding your purpose, the audience, and the context to take you through the process of

    1. Strategic planning​ – tells you what is needed
    2. Strategic decision making​ – tells you what to say and how much to say
    3. Strategic delivery – tells you how to say it

Doing this will also help you make your presentation purpose driven and audience centric.

(Video 1: Strategic Presentation )

  1. How do I make sure that what I say is what my audience wants or expects to know?

You would first need to do a detailed analysis of the audience to find out more about​:

    • the audience profile​
    • their attitude​
    • their existing knowledge level​
    • their purpose for listening​
    • the reasons why the content is important to them​

(Video 1: Strategic Presentation )

  1. How do I narrow down my content?

First you would need to look at the

    • CONTEXT – how much time am I given?
    • AUDIENCE – what are their needs and concerns?
    • PURPOSE – what are the key messages and supporting information?

Ensure that with the given time, you address the audience’s concerns and needs by prioritizing the content. Focus first on what the audience MUST know (e.g. key message). Then, supplement the key message with supporting details.

(Video 1: Strategic Presentation )

  1. How do I appeal to my audience and make them want to listen?

You can appeal to the audience in three ways.  These are:

Logos – Using evidence and reasoning e.g. Statistics and analysis

Pathos – Using feelings and emotions e.g. Stories, anecdotes, or jokes

Ethos – Using credibility and ethics e.g. Expertise, common values, and beliefs

You should vary the use of these persuasive strategies to suit the context, purpose and audience of your presentation.  For example, in a science presentation, one would use more logos and ethos, with a little pathos for interpersonal connection. The appropriate mix of appeals helps you to connect with your audience and make them want to listen to you.

(Video 1: Strategic Presentation )

  1. How do I organize my information such that my presentation achieves its purpose?​

Adopting an organization that will help your audience to quickly process the information and follow a flow that makes sense to them.  Some suggested organization patterns are:

    • Problem – solution – evaluation
    • Motivated sequence pattern (MSP) – for persuasion
      • Steps:
        • Attention ​​
        • Need​​
        • Satisfaction ​​
        • Visualization ​​
        • Action​​
    • Assertion/Evidence – to present evidence​

(Video 1: Strategic Presentation )

  1. How can I help my audience follow what I am trying to say?
    • Use transitional sentences and signal markers to link ideas​
    • Use illustration and visual aid to present ideas more clearly
    • Use gestures and expressions to add impact

Do remember that for your delivery to be effective, your verbal, non-verbal and visual cues need to be congruent.

(Video 2: How to use words) 

(Video 4: Non-verbal communication)

(Video 5: Visual Communication)

  1. How do I make my audience pay attention to what I am saying?

First, you need to make clear how the content is relevant and is of value to the audience.  (See Question 5)

Then, you need to deliver the presentation effectively by paying attention to:


      • How to use your voice effectively (Video 3: Vocalics)
        • Pace, pauses, tone /attitude, stress, rhythm, intonation

Non-verbals  (Video 4: Non-verbal communication)

      • Positioning and Space
      • Eye contact
      • Gestures​
      • Posture​

Effective Visuals (Video 5: Visual Communication)

      • Choice of visuals
        • icons, images, gifs, graphs, graphics, infographics
      • Formatting and design
        • Slide design, colour, layout
        • Section headers, slide progression markers
        • Callouts & animations


  1. What is the difference between the spoken language I need to use in a presentation and the written language I use in an essay?

The main difference lies in:

    • Choice of words​
    • Sentence structure
    • Organization your ideas into bite sizes​

(Video 2: How to use words)

  1. How do I come across like a human being and not like a robot?
    • Focus on your ideas, not your script
    • Adopt a conversational style​ using stress and pay attention to stress, rhythm and intonation​
    • Use appropriate expressions and gestures​

To be authentic and natural, you would need to be very familiar with your content so do   rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse!

(Video 3: Vocalics)

  1. How can I make my audience pay attention to me when I am presenting virtually?

The process of strategic planning, strategic decision making, and strategic delivery can be adapted for virtual presentations.  To do this, you should first note the difference between face-to-face and virtual presentations​.  Doing this will help you to

    • Harness technology​
      • Choose appropriate tech tools for your context, audience, and purpose
      • Before the presentation, ensure that all equipment works
    • Adopt strategies for virtual presentations when delivering
      • Dress appropriately
      • Have an appropriate setting/backdrop
      • Use your voice effectively
      • Emphasize movements without fidgeting
      • Pay attention to facial expressions
      • Use visuals to reinforce your message

(Video 3: Vocalics)

(Video 4: Non-verbal communication)

(Video 5: Visual Communication)

  1. All said and done, I am still very nervous! What can I do about that?

Presenters are usually nervous because they feel that the audience is judging them.  Instead of worrying, think about the content of the presentation and how this is going to benefit your audience.  Being passionate about the content and having thorough preparation should help alleviate your anxiety.

If you have planned your delivery based on a thorough consideration of the context, your intended audience and the purpose (CAP), you will feel assured that what you are sharing will be useful and interesting to your audience.  This certainty will give you the confidence when presenting.

Frequent rehearsals are also essential.  Rehearse not only what you are going to say but also how you are going to say it.   When you rehearse,

    • ​focus on content – do not worry about memorizing words
    • get feedback –ask a friend to listen to you as you rehearse