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Last updated on 9/27/23

Get Away From Your Computer and Back to Your Message

Don't Open PowerPoint

When you need to prepare a slide deck, don't let slides inhibit you.

Hold on, isn't this course all about slides?

Indeed it is, but be aware that presentation software does you a disservice with templates. Slideshow templates, which allow you to add a title and text, locks you into a pre-established thought pattern and can make you less inspired.  😕

If you try to plan your presentation (and its logical order) directly in the presentation software, you may end up with something boring and meaningless.

Empty slide template
Does this structure look familiar? 😕

And that's not what you need. On the contrary, you want to be creative and think outside the box! You need to get back to the most important thing: the message you want to convey. Therefore, be clear with yourself and what is expected of you.

But how can I get back to my actual message?

I'm glad you asked! Time to turn off your computer and grab your pencil and paper!

Get Back to Your Message With the Before/After Exercise

To build your message, you need to understand, analyze, and define what you're going to say and what will move your audience from stage A (what they think, want, and do before listening to your presentation) to stage B (what you want them to think, want, and do after listening to your presentation).

Take two sheets of paper and title them before and after; and write down what the audience already knows, and what you want them to learn from the presentation.

Two sheets of paper, one
Take a moment to decide what impact you want your presentation to have. 🤔

To help you think about this, Garr Reynolds, the internationally acclaimed communications expert and author of Presentation Zen, uses these questions:

  1. Who is my audience ? And what is their knowledge on the subject that I'm going to talk about? What is expected from my performance?

  2. What reaction do I expect from the audience? How would I like the public to feel after my presentation? What would I like them to think about the content and form of my presentation?

  3. What is the main purpose of my speech? What is the message I want to deliver? What should I do to make them understand? What emotion do I want to them to feel?

Bridge the Gap With Your Presentation

Now, all you have to do is bridge the gap between your "before" and your "after!"

To do this, take another sheet of paper and write down ideas (without restricting yourself; let the thoughts flow) that make it possible to move from "before" to "after."

Think of facts, anecdotes, quotes, and inspirational material (films, books, etc.).

At this point, you're creating your first draft. Keep it safe, as it will be useful to you right up until the end.

Also, if possible, draw your ideas (imagine you can already see images or photos that express what you want to say!).

And remember that:

"Most ideas can be expressed with a stick on the sand." - Alan Key

Let's Recap!

  • Don't begin by opening your computer.

  • Ask yourself this question "What's my message?"

  • Take a piece of paper and do the before/after exercise to note your thoughts as well as your inspiration.

In the next chapter, we'll be delving into the world of colors, and you'll find out that a color isn't just a color. There are meanings behind each one you choose. Ready? Let's go!

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