The first three slides of any presentation

Getting started on the design of a presentation can be the hardest part. And if we put it off, we end up stressed and cramming the process into such a short time that we do ourselves, and our audience, a big disservice. Here’s a way to break the inertia – create the following three slides:

1. Your Title Slide

The title of your presentation may already be decided. If not, create a working title (one that you may change later) based on your presentation Topic. For example: “An alternative to GIVING money to poor people in developing countries.” Clarifying your Topic by turning it into a Title Slide will help you make sure that any ideas that you generate to include in your presentation, stay within the scope of what you want to talk about. This saves you mental energy and time! Of the three slides, this one is the second hardest to create – not too difficult but certainly not as easy as the next one which is…

2. A Black Slide

You’ll start your presentation by clicking to this slide. The screen will go black which enables you to move to the centre of the speaking area without being blinded by light or obstructing anything the audience is meant to be looking at. We call this spot the Power Position. It’s the place where you look the most confident and credible. You’re square on to the audience – not turned to the side (in order to look at the screen). This is a body position that makes you look in charge. Because there’s nothing on the screen, all eyes will be on you. When the Black Slide is showing, you’ll Set the Scene of your presentation. Set the Scene is our name for a three step process in which you:
  1. establish the Context of your presentation,
  2. establish the Relevance for your audience, and
  3. establish your Credibility.
The process is conveniently remembered by the acronym CRC. There’s a video demonstration here. Creating the next slide really gets you focused. This is where you state…
3. Your Key Message or Destination Statement
This slide states the most important thing you want your audience to KNOW or DO as a result of attending your presentation. It’s short, simple and concrete. You want it to generate curiosity and hopefully, a desire to know more. For example: “Lend $25 to a poor person.” If you’ve done a presentation skills course with us you’ll recognise this as the Key Message of the Kiva presentation which we deconstruct as an example of how to use the SpeakerMap™. If you’d like to see this presentation as a reminder of the SpeakerMap™ design process click here.

You’ve now set up your brain to generate relevant content!

Everything in your presentation should fit within the context of your Topic and logically and emotionally lead your audience towards your Key Message/Destination Statement. With these slides you’ve created a “filter” that will help you decide what goes in, and what stays out, of your presentation. Your brain now has a goal – to come up with on-topic stories, statistics, anecdotes, examples etc, that support your Key Message. And because you’ve created these first three slides, you’ll have a feeling of momentum and the rest of the design process should start to flow.

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