Your train of thought has a big impact on your PowerPoint presentation. How you organize your ideas, present new topics, and connect various themes will determine whether or not you engage your audience.
Most of the time, presentations go better when the presenter uses linear thinking. So if you’re talking about the history of Rock and Roll, it would probably make more sense to talk about Elvis and Buddy Holly before getting to the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
We don’t need to talk about all the times linear thinking is appropriate — we just assume that it is. What’s really interesting is when it’s better to go with non-linear thinking. Contrary to what some will tell you, there are times when you need to present your thoughts in a non-linear fashion.
A recent Forbes article explains the benefits of PowerPoint presentations that don’t rely on linear thinking. According to the article, these are especially important for entrepreneurs when they need to be flexible.
“Non-linear thinking is about offering total flexibility to meet the needs of your audience. While being peppered with questions before you have finished presenting can feel annoying as an entrepreneur, embracing flexibility can work to your advantage.”
A college professor doesn’t have to worry about the structure of his presentation because it’s his class. Regardless of what questions students ask, he can choose which topics he’ll talk about first because he understands the subject better.
It’s not that simple for entrepreneurs. If you want to describe your product first and the potential investors in your audience are only interested in your projected financials, then you need to be ready to change the order of your presentation. This is one example of how non-linear thinking can actually improve your presentation. Otherwise, you might not hold onto your audience’s attention if you don’t pique their interest first.
So remember that while your aesthetic design affects your PowerPoint presentation, your style of thinking also plays an important role. How you structure your presentation depends on your topic and your audience.