You’ve been asked to give a presentation and it’s time to begin mapping out your thoughts.
I’ve observed this exact scenario play out with presenters in small nonprofits and enormous Fortune 500 companies, and I’ve noticed a trend that makes my heart sink.
The first thing almost every presenter I’ve observed will do is open PowerPoint and begin putting together a slide deck.
Since I began writing this blog, I’ve advocated for presenters, particularly if the purpose of their presentation is to train or educate others, to gather their thoughts using a lesson plan format before they decide whether or not they actually need PowerPoint.
I recognize that we live in the real world, where we aren’t always afforded all the time we need to plan for a presentation we’ve been asked to give. And quite frankly, sometimes developing a slide deck is the quickest and easiest approach. I get that, and…
I believe it can make a world of difference to you as a presenter as well as your audience’s experience if you choose to take a little time – maybe 30-60 minutes – to truly be intentional about what appears on your slides. In this spirit, I recently created this storyboard template for presenters to use in order to get a full picture of what their slide deck could look like.
When we open up PowerPoint and start generating slides, it’s too easy to simply use a default template and begin inserting a bunch of text that covers the content we’ll be talking about. This storyboard for PowerPoint can be a helpful process to organize our thoughts, but it leads to a terrible visual (and often a terrible learning) experience for the audience.
Three Components of a Storyboard for PowerPoint
There are three core pieces of this template:
1. Slide Purpose/Objective
You may have a lot of information you’d like to share, but does it all need to appear on a slide? Spending some time being intentional about the purpose and objective you’d like to touch upon with each slide can help you eliminate unnecessary slides or unnecessary information, which will help to keep your slide deck tight and focused.
You’ll notice that there’s not a ton of space to write in this box. This is intentional. Slides aren’t meant to be informational documents (save most of your detailed text for handouts). More often than not, one good image, chart, graph or key point is all you need. The limited space on this storyboard for PowerPoint is intended to force you to be creative with how you represent information on each slide.
To see how this creative process could look, here is a recent post about how an idea can be iterated until it leads to the exact visual representation you seek.
3. Key Points
This last box in the storyboard offers space for you to think through the main talking points you’d like to make for each particular slide. Keep in mind this text doesn’t need to go on your slide. You may wish to insert these key points in the Notes section of PowerPoint.
Overall, the idea is to print as many Storyboard sheets as you need for your slides, and then take a look at your whole storyboard for Powerpoint. Does it tell a coherent story? Are you maximizing your use of PowerPoint with strong imagery and data that makes sense? Do you have superfluous information that you can strike from your slide deck?
The next time you have a presentation, take 30-60 minutes and give this storyboard for PowerPoint template a whirl. I’d love to hear your experience.
Do you have a different way to organize your thoughts around a presentation that leads to an amazing visual and learning experience for your audience? I’d love to hear other ideas in the comment section!