“The single most important thing you can do to dramatically improve your presentations is to have a story to tell before you work on your PowerPoint file.”
—Cliff Atkinson, Beyond Bullet Points
This slideshare focuses on four steps you can take to build your story and tell it in a way that encourages your audience to connect their thinking with yours and so increase your chances of delivering an engaging and influential presentation.
The four steps are:
1 Consider the situation – who are your audience? What do they know? What are they expecting? What is the context of your presentation, what else does it connect with?
2 Establish the substance of your message. Can you distil it down to the one (or two) main ideas you want to leave people working with?
3 Put your message into a three act story so you have an engaging structure - a beginning that sets the scene; a middle that highlights a dramatic conflict and an ending that resolves the conflict.
4 When you have worked through the first three steps you can sort your slides – the bit of the presentation iceberg that shows above the surface.
The next slide was part of a report to
decision makers in NASA
What would you conclude?
Review of Test Data Indicates Conservatism for Tile
• The existing SOFI on tile test data used to create Crater was
reviewed along with STS-107 Southwest Research data
– Crater overpredicted penetration of tile coating
• Initial penetration to described by normal velocity
• Varies with volume/mass of projectile (e.g., 200ft/sec for 3cu.
• Significant energy is required for the softer SOFI particle to
penetrate the relatively hard tile coating
• Test results do show that it is possible at sufficient mass and
• Conversely, once tile is penetrated SOFI can cause significant
• Minor variations in total energy (above penetration level) can
cause significant tile damage
– Flight condition is significantly outside of test database
• Volume of ramp is 1920cu in vs 3 cu in for test
To design a presentation that allows your
audience to connect with your thinking you
need to step away from the screen
Begin by working from their situation: are
they sitting comfortably? What’s the
experience of your audience? What’s the
context for your session?
What’s your substance - the essence of your
thinking? The one (or maybe two) ideas you
want them to work with?
Structure your thinking as a three act story
so the audience can connect your ideas
with theirs - the set up, the confrontation
and the resolution
Once the foundations are in place you are
ready to create the surface - ﬂow and
sequence, images and text
Four layers of preparation help you stand
out from the crowd
“The only reason to give a speech is to change the world. The
only way to change the world in front of an audience is to change
the minds of the people in the audience - the minds that are still
awake, that is. And the only way to change the minds in the
audience is to take them on a decision-making journey.”