This second installment in our Presentation Design series unlocks one of the secrets of great slide design. We’re keying in on the foundational process of storyboarding. Welcome to Part 2 of Design with STYLE – The STYLE Method! 

In Part 1, we learned that Presentation Design is based on several decades of neuroscience research and visual design theory. This research serves up the special sauce that goes into great Google slide and PowerPoint presentations.

Now think about any dramatic or artistic presentation you’ve seen. The Broadway version of “Hamilton.” The Academy Award-nominated film “1917.” There’s a rhythm and a flow to stories told on stage and on the silver screen. A similar structure needs to exist in your presentation.  

Storyboarding is a first step in creating a presentation’s style and flow. It’s a simple but crucial tool for mapping out the visual storytelling that will add to your speech. A storyboard helps you put key points in order. Edit out unnecessary parts. And visualize each of your slides. 

A storyboard is the equivalent of a graphic organizer. It’s a crucial tool in the belt of every Oscar-aspiring writer, director or cinematographer…and anybody preparing to create a business presentation.

Design with STYLE – The STYLE Method

The word STYLE is an acronym for the process of creating compelling Presentation Design. Over the course of this four-part series we’ll dig into the finer points of each letter. To recap:

S = Slide Theory. Learn why neuroscience is behind the art of visual design and persuasion. The Picture Superiority Effect is a real thing! Our brains process images much more quickly than blocks of text. 

T = Tell Your Story. Discover the engagement power and time-saving secrets of storyboarding. And you’ll agree that reading from your slides can turn your presentation into a snooze-fest. We’ll show you why great visuals and the minimum amount of text on slides works best.

Y = Your Slide Design. Yes, there are style and structure principles that go into the best visual storytelling. We’ll also talk tips about templates, themes and topography. And we’ll discuss the use—and not the overuse—of color.

L = Learn Imagery and Data Visualization. It’s been true for centuries: A picture is worth a thousand words. Wouldn’t you trade that many words for one inspirational meme, or a hilarious GIF, during a presentation? Also: The ABCs of charts, graphs and diagrams.

E = Examples. Rounding out the STYLE acronym, we’ll look at highly effective examples of everything disseminated in the STYLE Method. Our presentation design services really come in handy!

Storyboarding Leads To Powerful Presentations

A storyboard is a basic but visually enhanced outline of your presentation. This powerful tool is an initial step that helps you order key parts of your speech as well as edit out unneeded portions. 

Here’s how to create a storyboard:

  1. Pick a tried-and-true storyboard structure that best dramatizes your message. Options include: The Explanation, The Pitch, The Drama, Situation-Complication-Resolution, Situation-Opportunity-Resolution and Hook, Meat & Payoff.
  2. Write down the major points of your speech on sticky notes—one for each individual storyboard frame. Leave room on each for a rough drawing.
  3. Draw a quick sketch on each topic card that’s a visual for that topic.
  4. Lay these cards out on a table or white-board. Move them into the order you would like to present them that fits the structure and sells your message.

While storyboarding, remember: Slides are not teleprompters. Reading your speech off the screen is a giant no-no. Don’t worry. If you need help with this we can show you ways to rehearse and recall your lines without clogging up your beautiful slide design with bullet points.  Schedule a call or check out all the presentation design services here.

“T” Tell Your Story: A Structured Journey

Think about your presentation as a journey. You’re taking an audience from Point A to Point B. Maybe you want people to buy a product, invest in a cause or get folks to think a certain way. Your storyboard should outline how you’ll take the audience on this figurative journey.

Effective storyboards can be outlined in at least a half dozen types of story structures, including:

The Explanation, which teaches new insights or abilities. This method starts by creating the lay of the land, then shows a roadmap, first steps and next steps toward an idea. Closing slides show the “imminent arrival” and lead up to the “ultimate arrival” at the new destination.

The Pitch recommends a new action or solution. It starts with a windup—but a hurdle is introduced. Then we show the vision, the options and then head for the closing solution. Now that the audience is excited, we offer the fine print on how we make it happen.

The Drama is based on a hero’s journey, and inspires a new way of looking at the world. We start with a one-fine-day scenario, then we hit a challenge and descend into crisis. We hit rock bottom, but then there’s a discovery, a rise, the hero’s return and an explanation of the lesson we’ve learned.

Situation-Complication-Resolution is common in the consulting and B2B sales worlds, and utilizes a BUT & THEREFORE structure. A situation unfolds BUT there is a complication, THEREFORE we must come to a resolution.

Situation-Opportunity-Resolution is a variation of the previous structure. The difference is that in the middle of the presentation the audience is faced with an opportunity instead of a complication.

Hook, Meat & Payoff is a structure that aims to quickly engage an audience. The hook can be a rhetorical question, provocative statement or a personal story. When the crowd is engaged, the meat can come in the form of a list or timeline that fosters understanding. The payoff at the end circles back to the hook that serves up an effective conclusion.

Use our free storeyboarding templates just download our Storyboarding 101 guidebook! 

Presentation Design Services

Slide In Safely and Let Us Help!

When you need professional assistance with presentation design – individually or as a team – Moxie Institute can help you with:

  • Business Presentation and Slide Design 
  • Presentation Design Coaching
  • Design Team Training and Workshops
  • Slide Review Services

“Y” = Your Slide Design!

In our next blog we’ll cover the “Y” in the STYLE Method. “Y” = Your Slide Design. We’ll dive into the style and structure principles that go into a memorable presentation. Look for tips on how to best use templates, themes and topography—and we’ll also examine the power that comes with color!

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