Designing a Presentation
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating a storyboard


From:

Designing a Presentation

with Justin Seeley

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Video: Creating a storyboard

Once you've decided on a theme for your presentation, you've got everything ready to go, now it's time to actually start assembling the presentation into its own structure. And for this we create a storyboard. And that's what we're going to be talking about in this movie, how to create a storyboard. Now, there are few things that I want you to understand on why we do this step. Because most people would just say, okay, I've got all my information, I've gotten my theme. I just want to aggregate it all together in one big pile. Well, we do this so that we can visualize the structure of the presentation. By developing a storyboard, you can actually move pieces around and change things without doing any damage to the presentation itself. It's sort of like visualizing before you attack.
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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Presentation
2h 14m Intermediate Jun 26, 2013

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Whether you're pitching an idea to the boss or delivering a speech at a conference, an engaging presentation will help you reach your audience and emphasize your message. Join lynda.com staff author Justin Seeley as he explains what goes into a great slideshow—one that aids, not detracts from, the story you want to tell—and shows you how to create your own. Learn to develop themes from selected colors, images, and fonts and start adding content. Then showcase your data with charts and graphs, add animation and transitions, and control focal points, or areas you want to draw your audience's attention to. The lessons in this course work with a variety of presentation software, including PowerPoint and Keynote.

Topics include:
  • Exploring the tools of the trade
  • Setting up a slide deck
  • Developing a slide theme with fonts, images, and colors
  • Creating a storyboard
  • Choosing software
  • Using images as backgrounds
  • Exploring the rules of slide typography
  • Building charts and graphs
  • Creating text and image focal points
  • Effectively using animations and transitions
Subjects:
Business Design
Software:
Keynote PowerPoint
Author:
Justin Seeley

Creating a storyboard

Once you've decided on a theme for your presentation, you've got everything ready to go, now it's time to actually start assembling the presentation into its own structure. And for this we create a storyboard. And that's what we're going to be talking about in this movie, how to create a storyboard. Now, there are few things that I want you to understand on why we do this step. Because most people would just say, okay, I've got all my information, I've gotten my theme. I just want to aggregate it all together in one big pile. Well, we do this so that we can visualize the structure of the presentation. By developing a storyboard, you can actually move pieces around and change things without doing any damage to the presentation itself. It's sort of like visualizing before you attack.

It also allows you to determine the storyline for the presentation, setting the beginning, middle and end point. And as we know, telling a story during a presentation is very important for keeping the audience's attention, no matter what the subject matter. It also allows you to visually map out the slides. As I said, you can actually move these things around physically. Let's say you do every different slide on a separate sheet of paper, or you have different templates that you use that are magnetic on a white board or something like that. You can actually just move things around. Changing the structure visually, making it easier to just touch the information, rather than having to visualize it in your head.

This helps get it out in the open where you or someone else can help to actually craft and construction this idea. I want you to think of storyboards as a sketch pad. This is where all of your ideas just sort of flow out of your mind and then hit the wall and on that wall you take everything that's stuck to it and then you just sort of rearrange it until it makes sense. That's what storyboards are all about. You just take whatever the idea is. For the intro slide, for instance, okay. I want my name here. My picture here, etc., and then you just kind of sort of work through that process and get everything mapped out exactly where you want it.

It should also be noted that there is no right or wrong way to do this. Everyone’s going to have their own way. I have a way that works for me. You should find a way that works for you and make it so. Now, I also want you to understand that you should be using just basic tools for this storyboard. You don't need to go into Photoshop or Illustrator or anything like that. Although you could. You could absolutely do it in a program like that but it sort of defeats the purpose. In this case, we're talking about whiteboards, notebook paper, even tablet drawing apps. If you have an iPad, or something like that and of course the tried and true method of just sketching stuff out on napkins.

Keeping things basic makes it easier for you to focus on the ideas coming out of your head and not so much the tools that you'll be using to do that. You should just grab whichever one of these or whatever is closest to you in a room when you have these ideas and just start sketching them out. That's the purpose of the storyboard. Just to sort of say okay, I've got this sheet of paper here, I'm just going to go ahead and write down what I want on the slide and then just stick it up on the board, on the whiteboard, or wherever it might be going. Or, you know, you just grab a marker, go to the whiteboard and do it that way. Just using basic tools keeps the ideas flowing and, like I said, keeps your mind focused on what you're doing, not how you're doing it. Here is an example of a storyboard that I did recently for a sales presentation. So you can see here that it's just basically markers on a whiteboard. I've got a box simulating each one of the slides, and I just tell the story through arrows.

So we've got a title, then we go to about me, then we go to an agenda then we go all the way down. Okay, we're talking about what happened in Q3? What do we did in Q3 and what type of goals did we set moving into Q4 targets? Okay, here's all the goals we had set, okay here's our results, Q4 results. That flows down to, all right who was the was top dog salesman? And all right, now but we've rounded that out, what do we want to see next year from the company? And then finally, okay, now that we've done really well this year and we've set our goals for next year.

Let's talk about how we're going to relax at the company retreat. And then finally we conclude out with some sort of conclusion. So this is just a basic outline of my presentation. It's the first step in outlining my presentation. And I've got the flow, I've got the structure, I've got all of the key points that I need to cover and so I got all of that out, right here on the whiteboard. And I can now translate this into some sort of design application to start putting these slides together. I want you to understand that storyboards aren't complex; they need to be as simple as possible, as you saw before.

And, also, you can refine them later in other applications. This should be just like a skeleton that you're putting together, and then you're going to take them into another application, Keynote, Photoshop, Illustrator, PowerPoint. Whatever it might be down the road to refine them and turn them into an actual presentation. Here is my proposed workflow for you when you're actually creating a full fledged presentation, this is after you've developed your theme and all that stuff we've been talking about so far. You start on a whiteboard, a napkin, something like that, you just sketch something out. Then you're going to refine that in a design application.

You're going to put the images together, the text together, all the stuff that needs to flow and look pretty. That's going to be inside of the design application. And then finally you're going to aggregate all of that information into an application like Keynote or PowerPoint or whatever the case may be. The big thing that you need to take away from this is that this is what works for me, and you need to find what works for you. If you don't like sketching out on paper, then don't do it. Do your sketching in an app, like Photoshop or using Adobe Ideas on your iPad. If you like to not sketch out at all, you just like to go off the cuff, that's totally fine too. This is, as I said, my proposed work flow, and I would encourage you very much so to find what works for you.

I also want you to save your storyboards because saving your storyboards is going to be essential to you down the road because often times when I'm building a storyboard if I don't save it, then when I actually go and build the presentation I start rearranging things based on what I think at the time might look good or something like that. But as long as I save that storyboard, especially with the notes that I have attached to it, it's very useful for me during my review process before I actually finish out the presentation. Because of the fact that I can go back to my storyboard, read my notes about it and say, oh, okay, this is why slide X went ahead of slide Y or vice versa.

And so, I can rearrange things based on that storyboard. Or I can say, you know what, that really wasn't a good idea in the storyboarding phase. It looks a lot better this way, so we just go from there. But keeping that storyboard all the way through ensures that you have a nice, easily structured presentation from start to finish and allows you that single review point to understand exactly what you were thinking beforehand all the way to the end of the process. So again, take some time, build your own storyboards, find your own workflow. You'll be really glad you did.

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