EYN#026 - Presentation Prep: Don't Just Lob Some Bullets On A Slide - Try This Instead.

Mar 19, 2024

Read Time: 3 mins

How do you prepare for that important presentation? Is it 20 mins whacking some bullet points on a slides then done?


I just celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the Tech World Human Skills podcast. Back in Episode 2 Louise Stevenson a stand-up comedian coach explained how Comedians prepare. She said this is how they spend their time practicing for a delivery.


33% writing
33% editing
33% practicing


I think that’s got some legs in our world. Let's transpose that to delivering a tech session:


Writing (And Researching)

I always start my writing by doing some research. And I always start with an AOREN template. It's the North Star that I can follow whilst I`m creating my content. I just write it down:

  • Audience - Who will be the audience?
  • Objective - What is my objective of the presentation. Also what is the objective of the audience from attending?
  • Remembered - What 3 main points do I want them to remember?
  • Emotion - How do I want them to feel?
  • Next Steps - What do I want to happen after the presentation?


After I've done a first draft AOREN …

  • Brainstorm all the things you might want to cover, get your mind map going. Write fast, ideate, envision get all your ideas down on paper.
  • Create quick and dirty (not rude) diagrams that explain the complex bits. Get the structure down in a sketch or very quick digital diagram.
  • Jot down the stories and anecdotes you could use to create emotional engagement. How can you bring some emotional engagement to this topic.
  • Imagine the demos you want to show and how they would flow. Don't create them, just brainstorm what demos would be best.


Editing (including slides & demos)

Now we've got the raw material it’s time to craft something wonderful.

  • Prioritise and gather the content you will use. Remember less is more. Group your key themes together and say goodbye to your ideas that don't fit or take you over time.
  • Create the flow. What’s the best order? How can we take all these great ideas and put them in a linear flow.
  • Design some visual aids. Slides are not your notes, they’re there to amplify the words you say. Don't build a load of visual distractions. Build some visual amplification of your message.
  • Build your demo scripts. Build those killer demos that wow the audience.



This bit people never do. Get on your feet and say it out loud. Things jump out when you practice. Like:

  • Things that sound great in your mind or written down can feel clunky when you say them out loud. The flow might not feel right.
  • Stories that you thought were funny aren't and are too long.
  • Demos that you thought work brilliant, don't flow when you practice a delivery.


Run through your presentation a few times and iterate on the content. You'll find you'll then be able to "perform" the presentation. You'll know timings, flow and be able to do more than just worry about what’s coming next.


So there we go. Preparation should be more than lobbing a few bullet points on a slide.

And the more you do this, the quick it gets.


Hope this helps




Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  • Podcast:  The latest episode is "Be A Person Not A Personal Brand" with Scott Hanselman.  Check it out on the Elevated You website or on  Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts.
  • Technical Storytelling Essentials: Accelerate your career, increase your impact and influence people.  Affordably priced, world-class course digital course for individuals.
  • Technical Storytelling for Organisations: Programs designed to increase the impact of your team.  Inspire, develop and motivate your team to influence key stakeholders and generate action with your customers.