Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Synopsis: Presentation Zen (How to Build a Story)

The act of preparing your presentation and finding your core message is the first step in finding your story.

Step 1: Brainstorming

· Write down everything - be messy, explore every possibility that occurs to you, examine every aspect of your core point

· Mind map, word associate

· Don't settle for the just the obvious or starting ideas you come up with; push

· Approach the presentation with a beginner's mind; don't worry about making mistakes or failing. Instead, adopt an attitude of experimentation and exploration. Try to rid yourself of preconceived ideas.



Step 2: Group and identify.

· Transfer ideas to post-it notes and chunk the post-its into themes.

· Look for the one key idea that is central and memorable to the audience.

Sections of your presentation can start to emerge here (3 can be a good number). Remember: each section needs to serve the core point.


Now begin to create a storyboard that will give your presentation a 'shape'.

Don't go to PC; stay analog - use post-its or a whiteboard.


Step 3: storyboard your presentation (away from the computer)

· One idea per post-it note

· Lay out the post-it notes - rearrange and then rearrange the post-its again, until the flow feels right

· Sketch pictures from the ideas

Step 4: Storyboard on the computer

· Create distinctively formatted slides to demarcate each new section.

· Add visuals to each of these section slides to support your narrative.

Step 5: After creating your presentation, edit

· Eliminate elements that aren't crucial to demonstrating the core point of the talk.

Huh. I've become aware that despite PZ saying that it's not offering a methodology to rigidly follow, what I'm synopsising here is starting to look like just that.

However, I'm not sure that this has really gotten to grips with how to create a story; the book hasn't lived up to its promise in that regard. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'll be taking a closer look at Elements of Persuasion, writing by a experience scriptwriter / pitcher of movies to Hollywood studio execs.

That's it for the story side of things, though. Time for a break from Presentation Zen. I'll come back to it in a week and break down the Design section of the book.
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