What’s the first step in creating a presentation? I firmly believe in starting your presentation with an outline. An outline helps you focus first on your content and how it’s organized. After all, isn’t what you’re saying more important than how you say it?
But how do you know what to say? Come up with the following:
- Your goal
- 3 main points (up to 5 maximum)
- An expansion of your points
- Data, images, and diagrams for your points
- A good conclusion
Consider your audience. Ask these questions:
- Why is my audience interested?
- What is their level of knowledge on the topic?
- What type of content will be useful to them?
Then outline your content accordingly. One way to do this is in Microsoft Word. To create an outline in Microsoft Word, type text at the margin for slide titles, and press Tab once for first-level bulleted text.
Now speak out your talk to test how long it takes. This first run-through will tell you if you have to cut or expand.
In my blog post, Import text from Word or Notepad, I explain how to format the text to create slides in PowerPoint.
The outlining function in PPT avoids the use of Word. It is a boon to structuring your content. Again, and again, I have found flaws in my ‘logical flow’ when I have viewed my structure with the outlining function. It points up gaps in your logical argument/story, and/or the need to re-order the flow. And, it is so easy to rearrange.
Great point! Yes, it’s good to use your outline as a way to look at your logical flow.