PowerPoint is not your friend! (not yet anyway)

Here is a simple 3 step process to help you design an impactful presentation. It’s based on the fact that, early in the design process, PowerPoint is not your friend. It’s the proverbial rabbit hole.

1st – Craft your message

The message is the thing you want your audience to remember for a long time.  It’s a single sentence that contains the words, you and/or your. It’s spoken by you very early in the presentation and it is the presentation’s destination.  You know you have a solid message when the word “how?” pops into your audience’s head after you say it. Write your message down and read it out loud. A sticky note works well for this or maybe a Word doc or the notes app on your phone.  No PowerPoint yet.

2nd – Sort out your content

The facts, figures, examples, images, stories, quotes and other material that backs up the message. The content is the infrastructure that supports the message. You probably already have lots of content. Put the most important stuff into 3 or 4 easy to grasp categories or chunks. Ideally each of these chunks are a benefit for your audience. Get rid of anything that doesn’t directly support the message. Remember that simplicity leads to clarity. Write out your content on sticky notes, a notebook, a white board, the back of a napkin or in a Word doc. But not in PowerPoint.  PowerPoint still isn’t your friend.

3rd – Create your slides

Slides perform three functions in a presentation:

  1. Content amplifiers and clarifiers
  2. A visual pathway for your audience
  3. A pleasant visual experience, a gift for your audience

Well crafted, visually appealing slides are a gift to your audience. It tells them they are important to you. Now knowing all that, now open PowerPoint.

Impactful presentations are not about slide design. They are not about having a great “deck”. They are about message delivery. The common mistake many presenters make is to start making slides way to early in their design process.  In the beginning, PowerPoint is not your friend. The software can take you down the proverbial rabbit hole. Often a rabbit hole you’ve been down before.

Want to improve the impact you make with your presentation? Create your slides last.

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