Planning Presentations Using SmartDraw


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Planning Presentations just got easier. With SmartDraw, you can make a mindmap of what you are going to talk about and import it right into powerpoint with PowerPoint Builder. SmartDraw gives you the option to sequence what pops up on each slide. Start Communicating Visually with SmartDraw!

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Planning Presentations Using SmartDraw

  1. 1. The Working Smarter with SmartDraw Series Make them Say Yes! How to Plan a Killer Presentation What you’ll learn: 1. How to get your message straight. 2. How to make your presentation flow with a storyboard How many times have you begun a PowerPoint presentation by typing-in a few bullets in the first slide? “Shooting first, and asking questions later” is not the best way to create a presentation. The way you plan and structure your presentation is the most important step you can take to ensure its success. A great presentation delivered badly is better than a bad presentation delivered well. In other words: “The play’s the thing!” or to be slightly more modern “garbage in, garbage out.” So, how do you plan a great presentation? Start by getting your message straight. 1. What are the points you want to make? 2. What is the evidence to support these points? 3. What action do you want the audience to take? One of the easiest and most effective ways to formulate your message is to use a mind map. An example makes this clear:
  2. 2. In this presentation our mind map has helped us identify key elements we must cover: The customer pain that our product addresses The key messages we want to communicate The action we want our audience to take We’ve also thought through the target audience, questions they may have, plus some other considerations. A mind map is an ideal tool for brainstorming and recording ideas as you think of them. Use it to get down all of the information you can think of that will help you go to the next step which is to compose the presentation using a storyboard. To learn more about mind maps and how to use them, click here. Plan the flow of the presentation with a storyboard Thanks to mind mapping, you have your goals set, and you’ve crafted your message. Now you need to plan out your story line, or the flow of the presentation. SmartDraw is a trademark of • 9909 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92131, USA • Phone: (858) 225-3300 • Toll Free (800) 768-3729 • Fax: (858) 225-3390 • E-mail: • ©2009 all rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. This is where storyboarding can save you a lot of time. A storyboard is a diagram that shows the sequence of slides and their bullet points or visuals. Start by adding a shape for each slide and label it with a title. List the main flow from left-to-right. Next add bullets to support your argument. Storyboarding allows you to think about building your argument at the outline level. Thinking out the presentation in a visual storyboard gives you a big-picture view that is much more effective than jumping straight into creating slides in PowerPoint®. For example, the order of the “Communicate Visually” and “Fires = Poor Communication” slides should be reversed. This is easy to see and to correct with a storyboard. Just drag and drop. The point is to first optimize the flow—that is, to work through the revisions to the storyline, visuals and text before you spend time creating detailed slides. Using mind maps and storyboards to do this ultimately saves time and makes for better presentations. SmartDraw is a trademark of • 9909 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92131, USA • Phone: (858) 225-3300 • Toll Free (800) 768-3729 • Fax: (858) 225-3390 • E-mail: • ©2009 all rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. To save even more time creating slides, you can take the storyboard one step further. Start with the main story line as above, only this time, start designing the actual slides. Add boxes below each slide with the elements for the slide—headline, visuals, text. The storyboard allows you to see the whole slide set at once, as you lay it out. You can see your titles and slide elements and get a visual feel for the balance. Here are some more things to think about when developing your story line: Strive to match your message to the audience. This is critical. Is everyone there to hear your final recommendation? Then start with the recommendation and present the evidence. Don’t make them sit impatiently while you drag them through methodology and data-gathering before getting to your recommendation. Is your audience likely to be somewhat hostile? Then build your case issue by issue. But provide intermediate conclusions along the way. In either case, the least effective approach is to keep the audience in suspense with a lot of preamble and supporting facts while making them wait for your recommendation or conclusion. With your goal clearly defined, your message understood and your story line created, you are ready to create your slides. To watch a video on how to create a presentation storyboard with SmartDraw click here. For a complete e-course on using SmartDraw to create killer PowerPoint presentations, click below. How to Build Great Presentations Using SmartDraw Click here to sign up. This document is part of the Working Smarter Series—a collection of publications describing proven tactics for improving business operations, provided free by To download a free trial of SmartDraw, visit SmartDraw is a trademark of • 9909 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92131, USA • Phone: (858) 225-3300 • Toll Free (800) 768-3729 • Fax: (858) 225-3390 • E-mail: • ©2009 all rights reserved. 4