The 6 types of presentation (and why you need them)

We all have been exposed to different types of presentations right from school years.

Group presentations, lectures by teachers and professors, seminars, webinars or online presentations, e-learning, e-conferences, etc., are all different types of presentations that we come across in our daily lives.

But each of them work for different settings.

In this article, we will take a look at 6 such types of presentations and when and why you need them.

1. Informative Presentations

This is the most common type of presentation, be it in an educational setting or business or corporate setting.

The aim of an informative presentation is to give detailed information about a product, concept, or idea to a specific kind of audience.

They are often analytical or require a rational analysis of the data presented.

Training sessions or one-day workshops are good examples where this kind of presentation is used.

Here is an example of an informative presentation on public speaking and presentations.

Now, there are different situations where you can use informative presentations.

a) Reporting

Learn from observing the reporters!

Although a report is a written explanation of an event, it can also be verbal.

A perfect place to use informative presentations is news reporting, as it requires the presenter to present information systematically.

b) Briefing

While briefing, take other member's feedback and opinions for a smooth presentation!

This involves explaining both positive and negative aspects of a particular topic in a few words.

It is providing information quickly and effectively about an issue to influence decisions or to come to solutions.

Hence, the decision-making bodies of an organization can make use of this kind of presentation to save time and effectively come to conclusions.

c) Research

Avoid being informal while presenting research!

Informative presentations are often used to present research findings to a specific audience, as it involves reporting the findings and briefing it to the audience.

Hence, almost everywhere where research takes place, be it in an educational context or occupational, can make use of this kind of presentation.

Tips for giving informative presentations

  • As there would be a lot of technical information and statistics, focus on the main points or agenda first and if you have more time, you can add them at the end
  • Keep your presentation simple and clear. Avoid complex sentence structures and graphics
  • Tell the outline of your presentation briefly in the introduction for a better flow
  • Make sure that your presentation does not stretch for too long. 10-15 minutes is what your audience can concentrate on
  • Restate your keyphrase at the end and briefly summarize all the important points of your presentation

Speech topics for an informative presentation

  • Agriculture:
    • Cropping techniques
    • Organic Farming
    • Corporate Farming
    • Hydroponics
    • Sustainable Agriculture, etc
  • Environment:
    • Climate change
    • Environmental issues
    • Eco-friendly ways of management
    • Eco-politics
    • Eco-feminism, etc
  • Education:
    • Gender studies
    • Gender and education
    • Religious studies
    • History of education
    • Philosophy of education, etc
  • Culture:
    • Ethnic cultures
    • Indigenous cultures
    • Multiculturalism
    • Popular culture
    • Cultural trends, etc
  • Business:
    • Business administration
    • Business ethics
    • Business models
    • Promotion and marketing communications
    • Finance, etc

2. Persuasive presentations

Persuasion is the art of motivating or convincing someone to act or make a change in their actions or thoughts.

If you are planning to give a persuasive presentation, and are looking for how to give a persuasive speech, check out our article on A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Persuasive Speech to gain in-depth knowledge about the art of giving persuasive presentations.

Persuasive presentations are also widely used form after informative presentations.

There are various circumstances where persuasive presentations can be used.

a) Policy-making

Avoid taking too much time when you want to persuade any decision!

Government bodies make use of persuasion almost every time, be it the legislative or decision-making bodies, executive bodies, or even courts.

Even election campaigns involve using persuasive presentations as an instrument of their pre-determined goals of swaying the citizens.

For that matter, any executive or management body of an organization can make use of these kinds of presentations.

b) Value judgment

Give personal examples if you want to persuade someone's viewpoints!

This kind involves answering the question “why” and supplementing it with possible benefits.

Most Ted talks and YouTube videos try to persuade the audience and fall into the persuasive presentation category.

Even religious heads use this as a means of persuading their believers to follow their belief system.

Deciding on a procedure or telling an audience the correct procedure of doing something is another situation.

An example of a persuasive presentation

Bailey Parnell: Is social media hurting your mental health?

This TED talk by Bailey Parnell is a good example of a persuasive presentation.

She starts strong by asking rhetorical questions that set the mood for her further points.

We can also see how the speaker is genuinely concerned regarding the issue, engaging the audience till the end.

Tips for giving a persuasive presentation

  • Start your presentation with a relevant quote or statistics about your topic to establish credibility
  • Tell personal anecdotes and examples wherever necessary to develop an emotional connection with your audience
  • Deliver your presentation with passion and genuine interest to motivate your audience to think
  • Answer the question “why” for better understanding and clarity in your presentation
  • State your viewpoint clearly and clarify doubts if your audience seems to have any

Speech topics for persuasive presentations

  • Controversial:
    • Is animal testing ethical?
    • Should cosmetic surgery be banned?
    • Can the death penalty be the only solution to the rising crime rates?
    • Should the legal age be 18?
    • Should immigration laws be revised?
  • Funny:
    • Why you should never add your parents on Facebook
    • Guys are more interested in gossip than girls
    • It is your major duty to annoy your parents
    • You are not enjoying student life if you are not procrastinating
    • Endless memes can be made on my life, etc
  • Animals:
    • Is taming wild and exotic animals ethical?
    • The importance of emotional support animals
    • Why are bunnies the perfect pet?
    • Why do animals make the best companions?
    • Why there is a need for patients to have emotional support animals, etc
  • Business:
    • How and why there is a need to do business analysis before opening your business?
    • Why small businesses are successful and more profitable?
    • Why do sales and customer service departments need to be paid more?
    • Why does the HR department need to be polite and understanding?
    • Why should you not do business with a family member?
  • Law and politics:
    • How charity is a means of converting black money to white?
    • Why is detaining people on the suspicion of terrorism justified?
    • Should euthanasia be made legal?
    • Should violent crime offenders be sentenced to death?
    • Should foreigners be allowed to buy a property?

3. Demonstrative presentations

This involves demonstrating a process or the functioning of a product in a step-by-step fashion.

So, a master class on communication skills or making a product model is an example of a demonstrative presentation.

Usually, the audience is an active part of such presentations and these can work in any context where you want the audience to learn a new skill.

a) Instructions

Take it slow when instructing!

This involves giving guidelines or steps of a process or work.

Teaching how to make a car model step-by-step is a good example where you can use this kind of informative presentation to guide your audience.

Another instance can be at the workplace, to train the employees or introduce them to a new product at work.

This type also works with demonstrating recipes and cooking workshops.

An example of demonstrative presentation

Emily DeWolfe: How to make a delicious smoothie

In this recipe demonstration, she tells her audience how many steps are involved and briefs them about the outline of her presentation at the start of her speech.

She also shows all steps in real-time so that the audience have a better understanding of the process and keeps them engaged.

Tips to give a demonstrative presentation

  • Introduce your product and its function to your audience before telling them how to go about with the steps
  • Explain the steps with diagrams or show them in real-time along with the audience
  • Give equal time to every person in the audience for clearing doubts, if any
  • Keep your introduction short. Not more than 5 minutes
  • Discuss options or variations that the audience can try at the end of the presentation

Speech topics for demonstrative presentations

  • How to administer CPR
  • How to wrap a gift professionally
  • How to budget your monthly income
  • How to choose a car insurance
  • How to restore a piece of antique furniture

4. Inspirational presentations

As the name suggests, this type of presentation involves inspiring others!

The main aim of an inspirational presentation is to motivate or move your audience and is also known as a motivational presentation.

Using techniques like storytelling, narrating personal anecdotes, or even humor work wonders as your audience develops an emotional connection to the message.

This TED talk by Luvvie Ajayi Jones is humorous but a lot more inspirational. Check it out!

Tips for giving an inspirational presentation

  • Start with a question that will leave the audience thinking. Pause for some time and then begin with your presentation
  • Develop a sense of connection by narrating personal incidents and experiences to grow empathy
  • Have some main points that you want to emphasize on
  • Make use of humor! It instantly builds a connection with the listener
  • Non-verbal elements like paralanguage, body language, speech modulations, tone, etc., makes a huge difference

Speech topics for an inspirational presentation

  • Importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Building mental resilience
  • Need for change management
  • Valuing small victories in life
  • How procrastinating is your enemy

5. Business presentations

In the corporate world, presentations are the go-to solution to do anything: planning or strategizing, articulating company goals, screening candidates, status reports, and many more.

Let us take a dive into the different types of business presentations.

a) Sales presentation

Make sure to practice before giving a sales presentation!

Also known as sales pitches, sales presentations involve providing information about a product or a service to sell it.

It has a pre-defined strategy of initiating and closing the sales deal.

This can be done in person or nowadays, on the phone, or via e-communication.

b) Training sessions

Make training sessions interesting by interacting with the audience!

Often employees have on-the-job training sessions that are aimed to increase the knowledge and skills of the employees.

This kind can also involve the audience to participate, like in demonstrative presentations.

c) Meetings

Take everyone's opinion before concluding a point!

Meetings can be called for for different reasons and can be of different forms as well.

Conferences( both video and in-person), board meetings, informal team meetings, daily reporting, etc., are all various contexts of meeting in a business setting.

d) E- presentations

E- presentations existed before the COVID pandemic as well but were used seldom.

But, with the ongoing pandemic, e-presentations or remote presentations have replaced all other types of presentations and will be with us for a while longer.

However, on the brighter side, it is an eco-friendly alternative to normal face-to-face kind of a set-up, and it also saves transportation and other costs!

e) Seminars

Give ample time of breaks in a seminar to make it less tiring!

Seminars are widely used in the health sector, usually involving a panel of speakers on a topic. The audience is anywhere between 10 to 100.

It ends with a question and answers session, and the audience gets to take handouts with them.

f) One-on-one or 1:1

Pay attention to your body language, especially in an interview!

Interviews are usually one-on-one and involve presenting your achievements and capabilities to your prospective employer.

Apart from interviews, 1:1 meetings are also used in sales and marketing to crack a business deal.

Tips for giving business presentations

  • Include key phrases and other important details on your slides and make them bold
  • Avoid casual slangs and informal tone of speech
  • If you are giving a sales presentation, explain your product or service in simple and clear words, and list the reasons why it is beneficial for your potential clients
  • Make sure to be on time! Delaying your audience will work against you and leave a bad impression on you and your company
  • Know your material or content thoroughly to answer the questions asked by your audience

Speech topics for business presentations

  • Implementing an Agile Project
  • Introduction to data modeling
  • Introduction to UML(Unified Modeling Language)
  • Social Media strategies for a successful business
  • Business writing for managers

6. Powerpoint presentations

PowerPoint presentations or PPTs are the most effective ones among all types of presentations simply because they are convenient and easy to understand.

They are available in different formats and are suitable to use in practically any type of presentation and context, be it business, educational, or for informal purposes.

There are various types of PowerPoint presentations that you can use depending on the context.

a) PPTs for general audience

Use inclusive language when addressing to a general audience.
  • For general audiences, avoid using jargon terms

If you feel that you need to use them, provide the audience some background information about the field or topic being covered

  • Avoid using more than 8 words per line, as anything more than that becomes difficult to remember
  • Use bullets or a numbered list for better retention
  • Try not to read from your PPT
  • Give handouts or record your presentation in case anyone wants it

b) PPTs for teaching

Include pictures when teaching through a ppt.
  • In this case, the PowerPoint is content-based
  • Make sure that the words on the slides are visible
  • Use bigger font and avoid fancy fonts
  • Add relevant pictures and graphics to keep your audience engaged
  • You can also add documentaries or relevant videos to aid in understanding

c) Repurpose PPTs

  • This involves reinventing an earlier ppt or combining 1 or more than 1 PowerPoints
  • Giving new touches to an earlier PPT or changing the format
  • You can take any slide of your PPT and upload it on social media for growing your brand or business
  • You can even convert your PPT into mp4, i.e, video format
  • You can even add voice and save the mp4 format, and you have a good marketing plan!

d) PechaKucha

Chat for only 6 minutes and 40 seconds!
  • This type of PowerPoint presentation comes from the Japanese word PechaKucha meaning sound of a conversation or chit-chat
  • This involves changing slides every 20 seconds
  • There can be a maximum of 20 slides, which means your presentation lasts for only 6 minutes and 40 seconds
  • The PPT mostly has graphics and fewer words
  • This type of presentation is best suited for telling a story or a personal anecdote

e) Multimedia presentations

Make full use of the multimedia ppt!
  • This is the best kind of PPT to engage your audience
  • It contains texts along with pictures, videos, infographics, music, illustrations, GIFs, and many more
  • Add higher resolution images and videos, or even a 360-degree snapshot if you are in the sales and marketing industry
  • Adding infographics such as charts and graphs makes the process of understanding easier and saves time
  • Music in a PPT helps your audience to be relaxed, at the same time making them alert and engaged

Types of slides in a presentation

PowerPoint presentation slides are broadly classified into 3 categories: Text, Visual, and Mixed slides.

1. Text slides

As the name suggests, this category of slides involve words or texts.

You can format the text as plain sentences or pointers.

You may even arrange them all in a single slide or one line per slide.

The slide seen below is an example where every point is mentioned in a single slide.

Archived Material (Presentations): Not too much text

2. Visual slides

This type of slide has visual elements such as images or videos, and are better known as conceptual slides since they are a better option than text slide to explain a particular concept.

You can use them at the start of the presentation to better visualize and grasp the meaning of the presentation.

The slide right below is a good example of a visual slide.

Illustration 1 exercise: Visual Metaphor | David Howcroft's OCA Art Journey

3. Mixed slides

Mixed slides combine the texts and visuals to give a comprehensive understanding of any concept or a speech.

Graphs and charts are the best examples of mixed slides.

Mixed slides have an advantage over the other slides; they keep your audience engaged, listening and participating more actively!

Presentation Design: A Visual Guide to Creating Beautiful Slides [Free  E-Book]

Types of Oral presentations

So far we came across 6 types of presentations, and they all share one common feature. They are all one of the types of oral presentations.

Oral presentations involve the use of verbal and non-verbal elements to deliver a speech to a particular or general audience.

All the types we discussed fall into these 4 broad categories:

1. Extemporaneous presentations

This type of presentation involves making short pointers or key phrases to aid while speaking.

You do not memorize, but organize the points and structure the speech way in advance.

Hence, on the day of your presentation, by just looking at the key points, you expand on them and move to the next point.

2. Impromptu presentations

Impromptu presentations are spoken without any preparation. It can be nerve-wracking for many, and hence not many are in favor of it.

There is a valid reason for their fear, as you have to make your speech as you say it!

However, those who are experts in their fields and are called upon to share a few words can easily give this type of presentation.

3. Manuscript presentations

The other extreme of the spectrum is manuscript presentations.

Here you have a script and you speak from it, word by word.

News anchors and show announcers usually engage in this type, since there are a lot of specific details that cannot be said wrong, and also, time constraints.

Usually, a prompter is used, from which the speaker speaks to their audience.

Nowadays, there are teleprompters, that are heavily used in the entertainment and media industry.

It is a digital screen that displays the contents, and the speaker speaks from it.

4. Memorized presentations

This type does not have any notes or cues, but you memorize or rote learn the whole speech.

School and some presentations at the workplace involve using this kind of presentation.

But since you are free from notes, you are free to focus on other aspects, such as body language and gestures.

Types of presentation styles

There are various presenting styles, but they do not work for all types of presentations.

Let us get familiar with them, and know which style works with which type.

a) The storyteller

There's a reason why we all love to hear stories!

This style of presentation involves the speaker narrating stories and engaging the audience emotionally.

This technique works best with persuasive and inspirational types of presentation.

So, how to tell a story in a presentation?

  • Understand and know your audience: Knowing your audience will help you with how you will frame your story, at the same time gauging the relevance of your narrative
  • Know your message: Be clear with what you want to convey through your story or how you are connecting the story with your actual presentation
  • Try narrative a real-life story: Inspiring presenters often take their own stories or the stories of people whom they know as a supplement to their presentation. When the audience listens to your real-life examples, they become genuinely interested in your story
  • Add visual aids: Using visual aids such as pictures, videos, multimedia, etc., increases the memory retention and engagement of your audience
  • Use the “you” attitude: Tell the story keeping your audience in mind because ultimately they are going to be the receivers and hence, the story should be relevant and should include their point of view as well

b) The Visual style

Make use of the visual aids to keep your audience engaged.

Most of us are visual learners, making visual information easy to understand and retain.

Visual aids like graphics, images, diagrams, key pointers or phrases, etc., are very useful when giving any type of presentation.

Some tips of presenting with visual style:

  • Include only important pointers in your PowerPoint presentation and highlight or bold them
  • Try including visuals that complement what you are saying and use them as a supplementary tool to aid in understanding your audience
  • If you are giving a business presentation and want to include visuals, instead of plain texts, include graphics and charts to make information simpler to present and understand
  • Avoid overly complex visuals as it will confuse the audience more
  • Avoid using more than 6 lines per slide

c) Analytic style

Provide examples to support your data findings!

If you have data records or statistical information to be presented, an analytic style will be more helpful.

It works best for Informative and Business types of presentations.

Tips to deliver in analytic style:

  • Give handouts so that the audience is on track with your presentation and the information will be easier to comprehend
  • Focus and speak on selected data as too much data statistics can be overwhelming for the audience
  • You can make use of humor and personal anecdotes to keep the presentation interesting and engaging
  • If you have too much data and are worried that you will not be able to explain it in the time frame given, avoid writing content of more than 2000 words

d) The Connector

Make an impactful presentation by simply connecting with your audience!

The connector style of presentation involves the speaker establishing a connection with the audience by pointing out similarities between them and the listeners.

This style works well with Sales and marketing presentations.

How to give a presentation using connector style?

  • Have a Q & A round with the audience at the end of your presentation for clarifying any doubts and avoiding miscommunication
  • Use audience polls at the start of your presentation to know your audience and tailor your speech accordingly
  • Make use of body language and gestures for delivering your presentation effectively. If you are confused or want to know more about the aspects of how to use body and gestures, check out our article on To walk or stand still: How should you present when on stage?
  • Ask questions to your audience at regular intervals for a better audience engagement
  • Make use of multimedia sources to keep your audience engaged and entertained

Which type of presentation is best?

Although all the presentation types have their own bonuses and are suitable for certain circumstances, some are universal and can be used with a little bit of modification almost everywhere!

These are persuasive presentations!

You can use them in various settings; from political, business to educational.

Just remember to choose the right topic for the right audience, and a style that you think is the most suitable and you are good to go!

To conclude

We saw 6 types of presentation and understood it in detail.

We also gained some tips on how to make our presentation more engaging and also came across things to avoid as well.

We then explored the types of slides that you can use, and also the types of presenting orally.

We also gave you some tips and a few topic ideas that you can incorporate in your next speech!

You can check out our related articles here:

Hrideep Barot

Hrideep Barot is the founder and chief writer at Frantically Speaking, a portal to help people learn everything about public speaking. The purpose of franticallyspeaking.com is to showcase the lessons that he has learned (and still learning) from his numerous stage experiences and mentors over all these years.

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