The past several weeks I have been consulting with companies representing four very different industries and yet they had one thing in common . . . the first thing each speaker did was to hand me a hard copy of their slides – sound familiar?
Typically, when asked to give a presentation the first thing we do is fire up our computers and start creating a PowerPoint slide deck. While I am a firm believer that you should clarify and organize your message BEFORE building your slides, I believe that PowerPoint can also be a useful tool in these initial steps. How? Consider this 4-step process for transforming PowerPoint from slide-ware to a planning tool.
Step 1: Brain Dump. Think about each slide as an index card or post-it note, where you can “dump” all the information or ideas that are floating inside your head. Each “card” can contain one idea or like ideas, it doesn’t matter. At this point you just want to get the information in a digital format for easy reference.
Step 2: Sort & Organize. Use the slide sorter view to sort through everything you wrote. Cut and paste slides much the same way you would shuffle index cards or rearrange post-it notes. This step is all about distilling your core message and organizing your content not building your slide deck.
Step 3: Build Your Deck. Once you have clarified and organized your message, start to develop your slides. First, move the text from the “slide” to the speaker notes section for that slide. This allows the flow and needed details to stay intact and remain easily accessible. Then apply the glance and grab™ strategy as you create your slides.
Step 4: Practice. Now that you have drafted your message and developed your visuals, it is time to practice out loud. Until you’ve rehearsed out loud you can’t truly tell what works and what doesn’t, what trips you up, what’s too complicated, or what just doesn’t sound like you. You’ll probably find yourself editing and rewriting as you practice out loud. That’s to be expected . . . better now than later! With your text and visuals in one place it is easy to edit as needed
A new use for a familiar tool, try following these 4 simple steps in developing your next presentation and let me know how it goes!