Shut down your computer? That’s right. The first steps in preparing a great PowerPoint presentation do not involve your computer. In fact, you’re better off without it.
If you begin your preparation by opening up the PowerPoint program, you’ve just launched yourself right into the middle of the forest. There you are, surrounded by backgrounds and fonts and colors and graphics – oh, my!
No, the first steps are strictly idea steps, and you’re far better off using a good old-fashioned pencil and paper than a high-resolution screen and keyboard.
So the very first action is going to take place a few inches behind your forehead. It’s a decision: What outcome do you want, at the end of your presentation?
- To sell a product?
- To sell an idea?
- To bring about better awareness, understanding and appreciation of a person, a group, an organization, a campaign, a cause, etc?
Part of making this first decision is familiarity with and understanding of the people who will make up your audience. Who are they? What are their interests, their likes, their dislikes, their feelings, their opinions – all in relation to the subject of your presentation?
Again, this goes on in your head – but it’s a good idea to make notes of your thoughts and presentation ideas as you work on it. That’s what that pencil and paper are for. Or white board and marker, legal pad and pen, blackboard and chalk…whatever’s convenient and comfortable for you.
There’s more to this step, and several more questions to answer and steps to complete before you power up the computer and open PowerPoint. All of that is covered in detail, illustrated with some great examples, in the opening chapter of a book I’ve written for you: Slide Satisfaction.
You can read about it here – and download your own copy, too.
It’s a powerful tool, to help you get the very most you can out of that other ingenious and powerful tool, PowerPoint.