How to Build a Presentation: Step #1

Don’t put pen to paper.

Don’t put a Sharpie™ to whiteboard.

And absolutely do not open up PowerPoint.

To build a presentation that will have your audience savouring your nuggets of wisdom like Tootsie Rolls Pops™ begin with brainstorming.

The fun stuff. Especially for those of you, who, like me, are lovers of sticky notes, coloured felt pens, and a little lots of chaos.

The first steps of creating a presentation are often the hardest. Impatience jumps in—we want it DONE and have our eyes on the goalpost instead of savouring the process.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

The beginning is where patience pays in spades. It is the foundation for the creativity that will make your presentation shine.

Try this first—Marc Heleven has put together a slidedeck that will open the tap to your creative juices. Spend a few minutes here and let’s see what transpires:


I know, you are itching to start peeling the sticky pad.  But we need to back pedal…just a little.

What is your key message? What do you want your audience to know, think, or do?

Now grab the sticky note pad!

Riff away and put ink to paper—what do you think your key message is?

Aim for five, ten, or 15 ideas. Which three stand out?

Which one has fog horns blaring and is making your heart beat? That’s the one.

Now on your white board, wall, or desktop it’s time to really get rolling and make note of everything that comes to mind — took a while didn’t it? Everything (yes, everything) that comes to mind that relates to your key message (you can fudge here and include ideas that slide under the bar and are a little off topic) gets a sticky of it’s own.

Keep going until you run out of ideas.

And check back for Part II.

To Your Voice,




I help build confident voices so they’re heard.

Janice Tomich is the founder of Calculated Presentations, a company dedicated to bringing out speaker’s stories to influence change. Janice coaches professionals, entrepreneurs, TED and TEDx speakers. She is a champion for equal representation by a diverse pool of presenters for all speaking events. Follow Janice on Twitter @janicetomich, on Facebook, on LinkedIn and subscribe for bimonthly newsletter updates.

Be bold. Get heard. Inspire action.