I never thought I’d use Powerpoint as much as I do today and/or give as many presentations as I do (not one of my career goals when I was younger) but I do enjoy it now.
Lately I’ve come to think of the formula that I use when putting together a presentation as I seek to improve on how I create them.
- Story. What’s the Story? This is key, no matter the content, what story am I trying to tell, what message do I want people to leave with, what takeaways or call to actions do I want them to have in their head.
- Audience. Whose the Audience? Ever try talking about how to code a service to a bunch of non-coders? No, it does not go well. Know. Thy. Audience.
- Draft. Write it out in Notepad. Okay, Notepad++ to be exact, but you get the gist, there are no spinning globes at this point, just me and text – Slide 1… Slide 2…
- Layout. Now we’ve moved into Powerpoint, it’s still pretty vanilla, the story is starting to gel but now the flow is being improved.
- Design. Now I’ve got 95% of my story and message complete, I’ve moved into the supporting design, the graphs, the prettiness, essentially, the supporting visuals.
- Polish. Now it’s the constant re-iteration of 4 – 5 times of polish of making sure it sings and comes together. This can take hours or days, but the more the polish the better.
Over the past 6 months, I have begun experimenting with types of presentations re: what content is presented on them, where the text is minimal and meant to have users fill in the gaps or me talk to those points and expand on them. I still do the highly technical presentations where this is not always possible but even then I’m working to filter out the filler and in those scenarios get right to the code when I am speaking.
In summary, Story, Audience, Draft, Layout, Design, Polish, or SADLDP for short… it’s not catchy, but it gets the job done.