You have gathered and analyzed some interesting budget, operations, research, or workforce data and described your findings in a written report for your work team. Now it’s time to brief top-level executives on this valuable information. Your purpose is to summarize (“Executize”) the data and explain its significance without overwhelming your audience with too much detail. To turn your report into a tailored presentation that meets the needs of those executives, use a three-step approach: PLAN, DECONSTRUCT, RECONSTRUCT.
Step 3: Reconstruct your Storyboard as a PowerPoint presentation.
- Select a template and design style that align with the event’s/your organization’s PowerPoint guidelines/standards as well as with the presentation’s setting (for example, are you presenting in a virtual space, in a small conference room, or in a hotel’s large meeting space?). Select a readable font style and size. Use an approved color scheme, and use colors consistently throughout the presentation. (For example, green is often used to signal achieved project milestones/approved deliverables.)
- Paste your storyboarded text into PowerPoint. Add your graphics. Focus the audience’s attention on your message and main points with devices such as arrows, bold print, callouts (“Bumper Stickers”), color, and shading.
- In the Speaker’s Notes field, script your Opening and Ending, verbal Transitions from slide to slide, and verbal Transitions to graphics.
- Referencing your report, in your Speaker’s Notes field, script the body of your presentation—capture the words you will use to explain the content.
- Preview the finished presentation in Slide Sorter, Slide Show, and Print Preview (color and black and white) views to ensure that (1) it serves the intended purpose, will achieve the intended goal, and conveys the intended message; (2) the overall presentation is a well-designed, cohesive whole; (3) the presentation is lean yet substantive, that is, your text and graphics are clear and economical as well as each subsection adds insight and meaningful detail.
- When you are pleased with the presentation, preview it at least once more to correct any spelling or grammar errors. Also double-check, against the source, the spelling of any proper names and the accuracy of numbers and any calculations.
- When you practice your presentation, make any necessary additional enhancements.
With knowledge of your audience, a focused message, and these three steps—PLAN, DECONSTRUCT, RECONSTRUCT, you are ready to turn any report into a tailored presentation that meets the needs of your executive audience.
When is your next opportunity to implement this approach? Until then you can evaluate several recent presentations: How well did your message, selection and organization of supporting points, and level of detail—in both text and graphics— align with the audience? How could the presentation have been even more effective?
© COPYRIGHT 2016 by The Writing Center, Inc., West Chester, PA 19380. All Rights Reserved. The Writing Center, Inc., provides in-person and virtual customized training in effective business and technical writing. This article or any part thereof may be shared only with this attribution.