Presentation Skills - A Very Detailed Guide (3) - Sequencing


Information is easier to comprehend and assimilate if presented in an order.  Described below are some types of sequences you can use. 


This method works well when you need to cover historical periods, or trace the development of a product, position or concept.  Be sure to address the past, present and future.
Example: Until the industrial revolution, documents were largely written by hand.  Then came the typewriter, which greatly improved the efficiency of secretaries.  Today, secretarial activities have undergone a tremendous change with electronic typewriters, computers, laser printers and dictaphones.

Pain to pleasure

A more advanced and persuasive form of the chronological method, this method takes the audience through an unfortunate, but correctable situation and suggests possible solutions.  This method works particularly well for discussing incidents that have already happened and were not managed well.  This situation can be presented as it occurred and can be followed with a discussion of what went wrong and what could have been done better.
Example: Before computer usage became popular, all financial calculations were done manually.  Computers allow you to do complex calculations quickly.

Cause and effect

This method is very effective for presenting scientific or technical information.  It is also useful for how a good situation turns bad (or vice-versa, i. e., pain to pleasure).
Example: If you do not rehearse your presentation, chances are that you will not have anticipated all likely pitfalls.


This method requires the creation of categories for your material.  This method is good when you have a lot of complex points that need to be presented simply.
Example: I have divided presentation skills into two categories, namely, instructional design and delivery.  Let us discuss delivery first.


This method presents material in order of its relative importance.  This method is particularly useful when there is a lot of information.  The most important material is presented at the beginning when attention is highest.  Alternately, a presenter can start with less significant material and build a climax to the most important information.
Example: Till now we have talked about this wonderful gadget at length.  Let me now show you how easy it is to use.

Advantage and disadvantage

This presents a point in such a way as to show its best and worst features.  This is especially good when you are presenting to inform an individual or group before a decision is made.  This method is also useful for presenting controversial material.  You can analyse such material with this technique without appearing biased or unfair.
Example: This method is useful and has the following advantages…however, it also has some disadvantages…

Ideal and real

An excellent method for inspiring a grop to see things in a different light or at another level.  Also good to bring an audience back down to reality (i.e., real and ideal).
Example: Ideally, your efforts should translate directly into tangible outcomes, however, in reality, this does not happen.

Not to ought

This method can be used when the presentation intends to impart or improve upon a skill.  The presenter can use this sequence to demonstrate what is wrong with current practice and then demonstrate the correct method
Example: A novice designs the presentation around the topic or subject matter.  An expert, on the other hand, first decides the outcome, the deliverables and the intended impact on the audience and then gets down to designing the presentation.


This technique used to retain attention or increase interest level by presenting information in an order that is deliberately illogical.  If the presentation is continuing in a set pattern for a long time, the sequence helps grab attention by being dramatically different.   
Example: (if you have all the time in the world) story of the adulterous queen.

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