When creating a presentation, resist the urge to start with the presentation software. Instead, brainstorm all of your ideas for the presentation on a sketchpad, sticky notes, legal pad or something else. Write down all of your ideas.

Many of your ideas may be fascinating and clever, but you can’t fit every idea in your talk—and no one wants to hear them all, anyway. Connect, analyze, sort, and filter the ideas so you use only the ones that will yield the best outcomes. Designers call this part of the process convergent thinking, (The idea generation phase is known as divergent thinking.)

Once you have filtered your ideas down to those that best drive home your point, you can fire up the presentation software.

When moving ideas from sticky notes into the software, enter each point as a clearly worded title in outline or slide-sorter mode rather than going straight to slide-creation mode. That allows you to read the titles in sequence, without the distractions of supporting details or graphics. This ensures that your presentation flows from point to point.

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