Advanced stickynoting

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Written by

Eric Albertson

If you have followed this blog or read slide:ology, you know that we are huge fans of sticky notes. We train people how to build effective presentations by writing their main points on sticky notes and then moving them around until they find a compelling flow for their message. Sticky notes are small, easily movable and readily recyclable. They are our friends!

And, we don’t just prescribe them for others, we use them here, too! They are an intricate part of our presentation creation process—for clients and for ourselves. Below is a picture from a recently completed project. As you can see, this was a massive effort–spanning eight whiteboards–where we were tasked with updating the content of one of our workshops.

Sticky Notes Galore on white board

This was such a huge task—which involved the tightening up of a meta story, re-categorization of lessons, and addition of supporting examples—that it was virtually impossible to keep track of all the details. In addition, we had lots of people who were helping to re-shape this story, so we needed a place where everybody could view the project and add or subtract ideas in real time.

So, we turned to our old friends, the sticky notes. We used sticky notes of different colors to differentiate the varying topics and sub-topics of the story. We thought through how each particular concept should be conveyed and sketched out slides–one per sticky note–to plan out the flow of the story.

Building a Story with Sticky Notes

And we didn’t stop there. We had lots of existing slides that we wanted to use as part of the story.  So, instead of sketching them out, we printed them out. We discovered something cool, which we pass on to you for free: If you print out your slides from PowerPoint in 9-up, landscape handout mode, they are the same size as small sticky notes!

Printed Slide vs. Sticky Note

We printed out the slides we wanted to use, and taped them up alongside the sticky notes. Now we had all the building blocks of our presentation, and the ability arrange and re-arrange until we had a flow that we knew would resonate with our audience.

Sticky Notes + Whiteboard = Awesome

So, if you’re working with large files–perhaps facing the daunting task of re-organizing a large-scale presentation–consider using an analog approach such as this. It can really help you refine your message and get group buy-in before heading to the computer to wrangle your slides.

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