Now you know what your presentation needs to achieve, you can finally start thinking about the content you need to prepare in order to meet those objectives. There are two main steps to this process. Firstly, creating content and secondly, structuring your content.
Here are some techniques you can use to create content. (You’ll probably find one or two of these feel right and others you just think ‘what is he on about?’ but that’s fine – finding the right tool to stimulate your thinking is what matters.)
Sometimes you just need to empty your brain to collect all those disparate thoughts that are banging around in there. You need to transfer those thoughts from brain to page and this is where personal taste comes into play. Are you a pen and paper advocate, a keen mind-mapper or an Evernote evangelist?
Set a timer on your phone and concentrate on writing down as many words or phrases to do with the topic as you can within that time. Write down the ideas that are already in your head. Don’t edit at this stage – even the vaguest or most tangential thought can turn into useful content at a later date.
Once you’ve written that list, leave it. Put the kettle on. Then come back to the list, add anything else that immediately occurs to you and then go through each point you’ve listed and try to spin something off that: How could I illustrate this? What story could I tell about this? What else would an audience need to know about this point?
Depending on how much time you’ve got, you can come back to this list and keep adding to it, but eventually you need to start editing. Count how many points you’ve listed. I normally work on needing half the number of points than I’ve got minutes to present – that is, I need 15 points, comments or stories for a 30 minute presentation, although I often end up reducing it so it’s less than half that number again, as it can actually take several minutes to make each point or tell each story.
Take out any points that you don’t think really fit with your topic or that you no longer need and start ranking the others by how keen you are to include them.
Do you have a favourite story or piece of research? Is there a point you’re not 100 per cent convinced is relevant? Once you’ve got your list of ranked points you should have more than enough ideas for your presentation and you’re ready to move on to structuring those into content.