Tricks for Getting to the Core of Your Story (Part 2)
By Doug Neff
Part Deux in our 3-part series on finding the essence of your story. Read part one here.
Get yourself a stack of index cards and a few Sharpie markers. Chances are, you already have an idea of some of the slides you want to have in your presentation, so use the index cards to start building it. (Don’t worry that you don’t know the essence of the story yet; that will come.) Use one index card per slide and use the Sharpie to add the main idea for each slide. You can write or sketch, whatever works for you. Just get the main idea down. Think through all the things you want to share with your audience and convert them all to index cards.
In this case, the tools will actually help focus your thinking. The size of the index cards will limit your canvas, and the thickness of the Sharpie will determine what you can fit on each slide.
Once you have some of your slides on index cards, you can start to shuffle them around. I like to lay them out on our pool table (yeah, it’s a great place to work) and move them around until I can “feel” the story. After awhile, you’ll start to see patterns emerge. Line them up in columns and rows, grouping similar ideas together, and eventually some kind of order will emerge.
By now, you’ll have a much clearer story in your head than when you started. Now take a picture of your layout or number your index cards so you don’t lose the slide order you just created. Then, go build a rough draft in your favorite slide creation tool.