Next month, I will be presenting at Enterprise University “DIY Marketing – How to Promote Your Business Through Social Media”. This class will be 3 hours long and the audience will not have access to the internet, making it difficult for them to follow along with my presentation, so it will be a challenge to keep them engaged.
The last thing that anyone wants to do is to watch another long, boring PowerPoint for any time, and I want to encourage open discussion. How does one create an easy-to-follow presentation on such a broad topic? By outlining the information in a clear, systematic way.
When you are faced with creating a broad, information intensive presentation, the most important thing you can do is to start early. These type of presentations cannot be created at the last minute and if you wait, you will not be presenting your best product and that could ultimately stress you out and affect your reputation.
Here are some other tactics that may help you the next time you are creating a PowerPoint presentation:
- Outline your presentation – I learned how to create an outline in grade school and still find it very useful today in organizing my thoughts. I’ve tried to “wing it” in the past without an outline, and found that creating a presentation takes much longer. It is easy to tweak the sequence of slides when you follow an outline.
- Try a collaboration utility like Google Wave – Ann Marie and I signed up for the beta test of this collaboration tool and have found it works well for us to share ideas about our presentations. Since December, when I found out I would be giving this presentation, I have been clipping web sites and adding them to Google Wave; I especially like the ability to look at the time sequence and back links to the original articles.
- Photos and files – Microsoft Office has a wonderful online resource where you can download royalty-free clip art to spice up a presentation. There are also other sites like iStockPhoto where you can download photos for a nominal fee. I created individual folders in My Documents to house the PDF articles, photos, the Word documents of my outline, and the shell of my PowerPoint presentation. I have found that by placing shortcuts to these folders on my Desktop, it makes it easy for me to navigate to those folders once I have a sudden flash of inspiration.
If you are planning to have a long presentation such as mine, doing a little organization in the beginning of your project and starting early, will save you a great deal of time and frustration in the end!