Most people start making a PowerPoint presentation by opening PowerPoint, but a better way to make a presentation may involve some planning time first before you jump in and get started. The idea of planning a PowerPoint presentation may seem like a waste of time, especially when you know your subject matter well. At the same time, presentation planning can save time and effort, and can result in a superior finished product.
How do you plan a PowerPoint presentation? Most people start with an outline. It's a great way to organize your thoughts, identify your major points and eliminate the unnecessary thoughts and words from your presentation. An outline allows you to re-arrange your slides, add and subtract discussion subjects, and think about your presentation without becoming distracted by slide designs, special effects, and color schemes. Outlines can be created in Microsoft Word and then imported into PowerPoint, or created directly in the Outline tab in Microsoft PowerPoint. To bring up the Outlining toolbar in PowerPoint 2003 choose View – Toolbars-Outlining. You can promote or demote topics by choosing the relevant green arrow at the top of the Outling toolbar.
Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points offers a novel approach to creating PowerPoint presentations. Atkinson starts with a storyboard, under the assumption that your slide presentation is going to tell a story. He offers tips and resources for telling your story and making a compelling slide presentation. He also offers online support to assist you with transforming creative ideas into a working presentation.
Some readers will not be comfortable with Atkinsons' approach to presentation-making, but his approach is interesting and will help you create a visually distinct presentation. The book is a worthwhile read if you're looking for some inspiration for an upcoming presentation.