How To Structure Your Presentations

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Facilitator Masterclass Training 6

"The storyteller looks into the eyes of the audience and together they compose the tale. The storyteller begins to see and re-create, through voice and gesture, a series of mental images; the audience, from the first moment of listening, squints, stares, smiles, leans forward or falls asleep, letting the teller know whether to slow down, speed up, elaborate, or just finish. The experience can be profound, exercising the thinking and touching emotions of both teller and listener.”
 — The National Council of Teachers of English

  • How to Structure Your Presentations

    Description:  In this masterclass, you will learn how to structure a 1hr, 4hr, full day, or multi-day event combining the key elements of what creates a compelling transformative experience.  We’ll walk through the 5 major parts that we recommend you follow for each clear story or topic you plan to facilitate.  We’ll dive even deeper into 6 elements to include in your lecture to walk your audience from point A to point B.

Masterclass Summary

  • Click the audio below to listen to the masterclass or download it to your device from the DOWNLOADS section below so you can listen on the go.  Each training contains Implementation Exercises and Reflection Questions to help you put this material into practice.  You’ll find the Transcript, Exercises, and Worksheets below.


    Whether you are doing a 1 hr presentation or a multi-day event we recommend that you follow this basic structure for each 1-2 hr block of time:

     This is the recommended flow whether you are teaching RECODE or any other content as it maximizes impact and engagement with the audience through multiple modalities (listening, speaking, writing, dialoging, and direct participation through exercises).

    So let’s take a look at our 5 part structure for each 1-2 HR SECTION you are planning to facilitate.

    PART 1:  Opening (5 min)
    PART 2:  Lecture (30 Minutes)
    PART 3:  Exercise (15 – 45 Minutes)
    PART 4:  Debrief (10 – 30 Minutes)
    PART 5:  Break or Closing (5 – 15 Minutes)

    These 5 parts make up 1 section, and that 1 section should cover only 1 major topic.


    As you consider what content to develop it’s important to deliberately shape your content around giving your audience (1) a particular experience, (2) transforming a particular mindset, and (3) taking a new action.

    When Bryan and I begin to put together our events we always begin first by considering the answers to these 4 statements….

    1) The audience’s current experience on this topic is…

    Here we look at the prevailing feelings, mindsets, and experiences are most common for people on this topic.  We also consider what state most people will be in as they enter the room? Will they be hopeful? Skeptical? Curious? Bored?

    2) The new experience I want my audience to have on this topic is….

    Here we look at what kind of sequence of emotions or narrative arc to we want everyone to experience over the course of the presentation? We ask ourselves what do they most need right now?

    3) The new mindset or belief I want them to have is…

    4) The new actions I my audience to take are….

  • PART 1: THE OPENING (5 min)

    In your Opening you’ll begin with a Counterintuitive Opener + Sharing your Mission which is your why…the reason you are doing this work.


    –  To contextualize the learning so that it feels important to them
    –  To lend a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves
    –  To give credibility to you as the speaker as you share why uniquely you are in front of the room sharing on this topic
    –  To inject a sense of energy and passion into the space before you begin

  • PART 2: LECTURE (30 min)

    In your lecture, you’ll be sharing the clear story for the specific topic of that event.  During your lecture we recommend you make sure of at least 1-2 of the transformational elements we taught you in the earlier training on how to develop transformational content.  Here are some additional structures we recommend covering during your lecture….

    1) NAILING THE FIELD WITH AUDIENCE FEEDBACK….After you open and share some of the ‘You Think…’ from your clear story, you’ll want to solicit audience feedback to re-affirm the ‘You think’.  Ask a staging question like ‘How many people have [X] experience? What’s that like for you? ‘What’s a time when you felt like this?

    2) CREDIBILITY & BENEFIT: This is where you share explicitly why they should listen. Build your credibility and the benefit of the ‘Then you’ll get…’  For example, tell a story of you getting that benefit or someone else getting that benefit or students/clients of yours getting that benefit.  Tell 1 – 3 stories that make it clear that people are getting the then you’ll get and the you are an expert in helping people to do that.

    3) IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT: Here you explain why it’s normal for people not to have it.  What are the barriers or obstacles that have likely prevented you from already having it.

    4) MINDSET SHIFT: State the ‘But really…’ and associate them into an experience where they can feel the ‘But really…’ as true for themselves.  Walk them through how from this new perspective the barriers or obstacles are reduced or removed.  You can use hypothetical experiences, stories that illustrate this point, or diagrams, etc. The bulk of the transformational work is done here.

    5) AUDIENCE CONFIRMATION OF THE MINDSET SHIFT:  Here you might ask, ‘Who can see that this mindset shift would reduce or remove those barriers?’ Then when they raise their hand ask them ‘What’s that like for you?’  Who isn’t yet ready to believe the ‘But really…’? Ask them ‘what’s your experience?’  Whatever they say…’great I think you’ll find that may shift after we do this next exercise’

    6) HOW TO: This is the ‘If you just….’ of your clear story that teaches them easy to follow steps through the process of taking the new action you want them to take.  Retell in more detail some of the story from the beginning of the benefit highlighting the specific steps they took.  In order to help the participants navigate the maze you have to give them instructions that would make sense to someone inside the maze who can only see the walls immediately around them.


    Here you’ll engage your audience in either Q&A/dialoging, partnered or small group exercises, writing and reflection exercises, closed eye processes, working with someone on stage, or engaging the room in games.

    Explicitly make the connection between the if you just… that you want them to do out in the world and the steps of the exercise.

  • PART 4: DEBRIEF (10-45 min)

    You’ll be engaging your participants in reflecting on the insights they gained or lessons learned from the exercise and lecture.  Here is a series of more general staging questions:

    1.  What was that like for you?
    2.  Who noticed the ‘but really’ being true for them?
    3.  Who found this easy?
    4.  Who found this difficult?
    5.  Who had an ‘aha’ or something they want to make sure to take away that they’d like to share?

  • PART 5: CLOSING (5-15 min)

    In your closing, you’ll recap the experience you are wanting them to walk away with and any specific bite-sized actions you are wanting them to take outside the room.  This is also your opportunity to inspire them to take the next call to action which could be coming the the next event, signing up for a program or your additional services.

    One powerful closing you might experiment with is to reiterate the clear story but future pacing it for them.  A story that has them having the ‘But really…’ in the not too distant future and visualizing themselves doing the ‘If you just…’

  • Implementation Exercises

    The key to getting value from any endeavor resides in your willingness to integrate what you are learning and implement it in your life.  All new thought and new ideas are useless unless we act upon them.  The same is true in this course.

    If your goal is to be the kind of person that catalyzes change for others it will require you to step just outside of what’s known and what’s comfortable to act as you breathe and accept the challenges that lie before you.

    “You can’t cross a sea by merely staring into the water.” — Rabindranath Tagore

    As you begin to create your content for a group facilitated experience, you’ll need to begin with determining which clear story you plan on presenting and then adding engaging and transformational elements to that clear story. Complete the exercises below to create your content for a group facilitation.  If you are using RECODE content to become a RECODE FACILITATOR then much of this work is done for you and it’s a matter of learning and practicing it.  You’ll find that information in the RECODE WORKBOOK.

    Please note as a professional if you end up using our RECODE content in your non RECODE events please attribute us and this program.  Do not replicate our material without attribution.

    1) Preparation. You’ll answer the 4 key questions that will set you up to create the outline and content for your event.  Use our Recode Workbook to fill in your responses.

    2) Opening:  Here you’ll develop a counterintuitive opener + share your mission (why this, why me, and why now?).  Enter your response in the Recode Workbook.

    3) Lecture.  In this section you’ll follow along with our 6 part structure for the lecture which will have you talking and engaging your audience throughout.  You’ll begin with 1) Nailing the Field and Re-Affirming with the audience your ‘If you just….’ 2) Sharing your credibility and the benefit through storytelling 3) Telling them ‘It’s not your fault’ where you look at the common obstacles and barriers 4) Transform them through the Mindset Shift using things hypothetical scenarios, hero and dunce stories, diagrams, and narrative tags .  5) Get confirmation of the mindset shift with the audience 6) Give them the How To steps which are the actions you want them to take in order to get the benefit

    4) Interactive Exercise. Here you’ll develop an interactive exercise: Partnered / Small group exercise, Q&A, Self Reflection / Writing exercise, Closed Eye Processs, Working with someone in front of the room, or engaging the room in a game.

    5) Debrief.  You’ll fill in a set of debrief questions to engage your audience in after the exercise.

    6) Closing.  Here you’ll recap highlights/key take aways and will have them take the next call to action.

  • Self Reflections

    Reflections exercises are one or more questions that we’d like you to be in deep consideration of for the entire week.  These are meant to be shared with your family, friends, and community so that they can offer you a more complete 360 view of yourself, your identity, and your reality.

    Everyone has blind spots.  These are areas where we are less developed that are outside our view.  Getting reflections will point out things that you might not ever know yourself.

    In addition, the more you consider these reflection questions the more likely you’ll be able to break through your current level of thinking and use the exercises to leap frog into a new level of consciousness.

     Here is this weeks self reflection question.

    1) Looking at the structure you learned this week and any events you might have already facilitated, what parts of this structure do you tend to include? What parts of this structure do you tend to exclude?

    2) Which parts of this structure feel the easiest for you? Which parts of this structure feel the most difficult?

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Up Next - Facilitator Masterclass 7 - Setting Up the Logistics of Your Event