5 Simple Steps on How to Make Great Slide Presentations, Part 3

So, I covered a bit about brainstorming and creating an outline. I even covered a more concrete example. So, let`s move on to Storyboarding.
 
Day 1: Brainstorm on the Topic
Day 2: Write an Outline
Day 3: Storyboard the Presentation
Day 4: Create Presentation
Day 5: Practice
 

What is a Storyboard?

First, of all what is storyboarding and why do we need it?
A storyboard is simply a sequence of rough sketches and text so you can visualize your story. This allows you the time and space to play with your ideas, see the entire story or presentation, and quickly modify before you spend a lot of time making it pretty. Making any changes for any reason after spending a lot time with the format and design can add to a lot more time.
 
The method itself was first developed by Walt Disney in the 1930`s to make the creation of animation cheaper and quicker. You can imagine the frustration of putting inall the longs hours of drawing each frame of a moving Mickey Mouse, only to find out that the scene you drew was cut out. It is better to figure out the story first before putting in all the hard work.
 

Used Across Many Fields

This method has gone on be used for live action movies. The first one being “Gone with the Wind.”  Later storyboarding moved to software development and of course business presentations. Live action movies use storyboarding in the same way as animated films, but what about software development? Developers create user stories on how they imagine users will use the software. So they use these to check if layout, menus, etc. are easy to use and make sense or not.  This is will later be tested with an actual user.  As for presentations, again it is simple. You are just trying to see if the flow of your presentation will make sense or not. Storyboarding makes it easier to spot the problem spots.
 
Here is a video from Pixar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LKPVAIcDXY
You can click on the lower right to see the subtitles in English. They are not perfect, but they can help you understand what is begin said.
 

How do you make one?

Write and draw everything you need on a simple post-it notes. I prefer the rectangular shape (75 mm x 100mm) because computer screens are rectangular.
Write the text and draw the picture you want to use.

You don`t need to be an artist.
Just draw a rough sketch of what you want. Stick figures are ok. It is what I draw most of the time. Even Dan Roam, who teaches drawing and published four books on it, uses stick figures. So believe me, you do not need have any talent. BTW, Drawing will save you time when you are trying to find that “perfect” picture. Why? Because, it will give you a clear idea of what pictures you are looking for.


One Point, One Post-It

Also, be sure to keep one point, one post-it note. Many people like to cram lot of material onto one slide. There was even the old seven by seven rule. That was seven bullet points with no more than seven words. But, if you saw that yourself, what would you do? If it were me, I would probably go ahead and start reading the bullet points and during that time not pay attention to the speaker. The speaker should be audience`s center of focus. So, even if you can create very small and very neat on a post-it note, please keep the text to an absolute minimum.
 
But, you may think that in the creation phase you could use animation to show each point at a time. But again, if the previous points are still around, people will still look and think about them instead concentrating on what you are saying right now. People have a lot of things on their minds as it is. I think it is better to show no distractions.
 
As an exception, I think it is ok for you to show several points when you are talking the about the overview of your presentation or when you summarize. I personally don`t like blocks of text here either. I would rather have some sort of diagram connecting all the major concepts together. But in general, it is best to stick to the one point, one post-it note rule the other 95% of the time.

Chunk It Down

Some of you may even think that your one point is very long, and it will take a lot to explain. If so break it down into chunks. If your one point the benefits of Spaced Repetition, you have already run into a problem because “benefits” is not one thing. It is several. So, you should have one title slide with Benefits of Spaced Repetition a slide for each benefit, plus some extra slide to help explain parts of the concept in more detail. In any case, keep breaking things down so that it is simple. And fits in a slide.
 
After you have done all of that, arrange the post-it notes in the order you like. Also take a break at some time, come back to it and see if it needs to be rearranged. After you have done that few times, you might want to grab a friend or two, show them the board and get feedback from them. They may have a few suggestions. Give them post-it notes. You may have more ideas from their suggestions. Put those on post-it notes. Go back and look again. 
 

Put the Details in the Handout

One final note, Your presentation should not be a replacement for a handout.
All the details, formulas, references etc. should be in the handout. Graphs can be complex in the handout, but should be simplified in the presentation. Remove all the lines, tables, etc. Graphs on your slides should show only essential information for the point you are making on that slide. You can show different version of your graph as your point changes. 
 
So, I hope you wrote or drew all your slides, from title slide to ending slide. That you keep your wording to an absolute minimum. And that you keep one point per slide. I hope you gave yourself time to look at the overall flow, and rearranged the post-it-notes as needed. After you are done you can now start thinking about creating slides.
 
But, next I am going to take a short detour. If you want to get more articles like this in your mailbox please subscribe!