Holster that mouse! Before you crack open PowerPoint to crank out some slides, take a step back and sketch. Your time in front of the computer will be far more productive (as in, you’ll save hours roaming stock photo sites) if you think through your slides on paper before you design them electronically.

SlidedeckSketchI used to just print off a blank slidedeck of six slides on one page from PowerPoint and start my sketching. You’ll see here that I’m not making anything super beautiful or artistic. Those are really crude sketches! They eventually turned into this deck:

SlidedeckSketch2And the slide development process was a snap because I already knew what images I was looking for and where I would place them on the slide.

I go through this process so often I made my own Slidedeck Planning Sheet, now downloadable for your use. It looks like this:

SlidedeckPlanningSheetYou list your presentation details at the top, number your slides, sketch your ideas, and jot down a few main points. Spending 20-30 minutes here is like putting time in the bank. Bang!

The awesome Chris Lysy animated a 2 minute trailer for my recently released book, Presenting Data Effectively. Check it out – it’s so cool!

This month I kick off my webinar series, with a 90-minute session on reporting well. Next month, slides. January, data visualization