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11 Steps To Presentations - Page 1 of 4


Continued on Page 2

Step 1 - Concept
Step 2 - Visualization
Step 3 - Storyboarding


No ripples in ponds
No concepts in mind
Yet presentations aplenty

No threads around
To string the beads
And the audience is sleepy

Can you already hear complaints and cries? 'Eleven' steps to a presentation? Surely, that's way too many! After all, the so-called "presentation wizards" get you there with just a few clicks.

True, and these presentation wizards do have their uses - for instance, you could be creating an  occasional presentation, or you are in a hurry - but then, these presentations have their disadvantages too - they look 'canned', and they don't awaken your (latent) talents. Sure, you are more talented than you think, as you shall soon discover. 

I think it's a case of deciding which way to go - since you have come this far, why not continue for a little longer. You can't swim until you get your presentation feet wet - so let's dampen (definitely not the spirits!) them straightaway! Jump in - now's the time.

Step 1 - Concept

Never attempt a presentation without a concept - it's that simple. 

Backtrack and go to from wherever you came. Alternatively, elaborate your concept, exchange ideas, look a little further with your own and other people's perspectives. Take a note book (loose papers often get lost!) and jot down your ideas before you forget them. By this time, if you have enough ideas to layer the whole world with knowledge, it would be a good idea to decide what's your framework? - what are your limits? 

Let me explain to make it easier - open any window and look beyond and write - about whatever you see - it's a paradox, no limits to whatever you're writing about, but you are still limited by what the window chooses not to reveal - after all there are no 360 degree views here! The window frames act as a framework to your story. In the same way, limit your concept to whatever is relevant to your presentation. 

Step 2 - Visualization


You may not be a movie director or editor, but your presentation still needs a story. Go with your ideas to a calm place, close your eyes and just concentrate - try visualizing an audience - what they like and whatever they don't. Now imagine the theme of your presentation - visualize how you would present it as a story, how the show would start, continue and end. The beginning and the end of any presentation is equally important as the body - so try to weave your start and finish sequences with a little more impact.

Think about color combinations, animations, transitions and above all continuity. Read more about color combinations here.

Try creating a story - a story here does not mean a human story - it means an end that has a beginning and a subject matter that is the central theme of your presentation. Be sure that it is interesting for your audience - just because it seems very good to you does not automatically relate similarly in the audience's viewpoint. Above all, respect their time - don't waste this precious resource when it can be conserved.

Note down your ideas - take them further with your thought processes - if you think this discussion is a lot of thin air - then I won't blame you although I will still say that you are not losing anything by giving this method a try. Concentrate on creating continuity and keep writing notes - the only part here you can omit is to close your eyes - but only if it does not deter your concentration.

Step 3 - Storyboarding

You can download storyboard templates from the Internet or create your own in a word processor - print a fair amount of them to make a thin pad which you can staple and keep ready whenever you need. You can download a sample template here in Adobe ® Acrobat® format - you will need the free Acrobat® Reader to view and print it - if it's not installed on your system, you can download it from the Adobe® website.

Now, make rough sketches in the rectangular slide representations and jot down your notes in the empty space next to it. Repeat for every slide.

If you want to read a more detailed article on storyboarding you can go to Indezine's Presentation Storyboarding page.

There's a great storyboarding program called Springboard, which is freeware for personal use -  the only problem is that it is almost useless without a pen or tablet - if you're going to use it with a mouse, I doubt how far can you get with it. It allows you to save your storyboards, as well as export them to a few graphic formats and HTML as well.

Here's an update (added August 2003*): Another alternative is Microsoft's Tablet PC platform - it's probably the best thing for any type of storyboarding - the platform's inherent 'ink' features can even allow Microsoft Word to function as an excellent storyboard. And that's really ideal, since you can create instant presentations from Word outlines!

Another update (added June 2004*): I've been reading this book called Real World Digital Video - and it has a great chapter on video storyboarding. It's amazing how much similar presentation storyboarding can be to video storyboarding.

Real World Digital Video

Continued on Page 2

*The original article was authored sometime in 2001.

11 Steps To Presentations - Page 1 of 4

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