How to develop & organize your presentation

A few weeks ago I reached out to DevSecCon virtual conference to see if they'd be interested in digital graphic recording for their event. To be honest, because of all my DevOps experience, I've been wanting to do this event for quite some time! While talking with them back and forth they asked me if I'd be interested in giving an ignite talk during the conference. For those you are unfamiliar, an ignite talk is a five minute quick talk. I was excited about the idea but only had a little over a week to prepare. I thought this would be a great opportunity to document my process of how I go about organizing my ideas and the talk formula.  I hope this is helpful for you when you organize your next talk or presentation!


Step One - Preparation

Create a clean, minimal space. For me this included a clean table, paper, markers and a computer. I didn't really need a computer but I had it as a backup in case I needed to look up a past document, images, etc. But really all I needed was some scrap paper and something to write with. If you like to move a lot when you are thinking, consider sticky notes and a large blank wall space. I was at home, not at my studio so I didn't have wall space or I might have preferred that.


Step Two - Brain Dump

I knew generally what I was going to say. I had determined my title first (I encourage determining your title after too, depends on the situation) so I knew I wanted to focus the talk around my title of "Doodle with Purpose". I did a giant brain dump of everything that I think could possibly go into the talk. Important note is that I did not censor myself. A brain dump is just that, you get everything out and you determine what you want to keep later. Try really hard not to omit anything during this process.

I did use my computer to look up my original talk submission. What did I say in my write up that was going to be posted on the website for people to read. What important notes would be good to capture on a piece of paper from that write up.

Important note: One idea per piece of paper/sticky note.  Write large -only a few words per note.  If you have a bunch of ideas that relate to each other, give each idea it's own sticky note. This will help you later with the next steps.


Step Three - Organize

OK! You've finished the brain dump. Now off to the organizing. Whenever I'm facilitating a session, without fail, themes always arise. I'm sure you'll find the same thing if you use this method. My themes came down into three sections: why, draw and tips. A put everything in those three themes. There were a few outliers so that's where they end up getting put off to the side. A few other "big picture" ones ended up at the top. They were important but wasn't sure yet how they fit. It's ok if you have some pieces that you aren't sure if they will end up fitting or not.

I gave each theme it's own piece of paper and labelled them. I put the  themes notes  in there but without any direction yet.


Step Four - Organize Again!

Here we go again! Another round of organizing! You may find, depending on how complex your information is you may have to do repeat the organizing process a few times. I HIGHLY recommend, if possible, step away for a few minutes, hours or even a day or two and come back with fresh eyes and mind. You may end up looking at the information differently and it could help you digest the direction you want to talk and let your brain do some of that hard thinking subconsciously.

I was happy with my main themes so I kept them but put the notes in a more logical order. I grouped ideas that I could possibly share together.


Step Five - Timing

When I was feeling pretty good about the content I took a few minutes to decide what my timing was going to look like. Because this talk is only 5 minutes I knew time was of the essence!  Bonus is though, I know I could also give a longer version of this talk using the same information and even same slides but speak longer and more in depth on each topic and idea.

I wanted to provide as much value as I possibly could in this talk. That's why I decided to spend less time on the 'why' doodling is awesome and more time on the drawing elements and tips.

Practicing giving you talk out loud to yourself or someone and timing it is important as well. Especially with the tight time frame I knew I'd have to stick to my timing or run the risk of going over.

Screenshot (177)

Step Six - Plugging into Powerpoint

We are on step six and just starting to plug things into powerpoint. I highly encourage you to not start off with your powerpoint slides. This, in my opinion, should be a the last step of the process.  I took each  note and gave it it's own slide.  I use the pen feature in powerpoint to write it out, for me, I figure this would be the quickest way to jot down the ideas. By just having one idea for each slide this would allow me to still omit and move things around easily.

I then opened up my sketching program on my computer and starting to draw out the slides. I had a few images that I was able to re-purpose so I found those and brought them in as well.  If you'd like to check out the final powerpoint slides feel free to check out the PDF HERE.

Step Seven - Go for it!

Like I said in a previous step, it would be awesome if you to practice giving your talk to determine some of your language. Make some notes for yourself if you need to and then go for it! Give your talk and celebrate ! You're always going to be your own worst critic so don't be hard on yourself if you feel like you missed something or didn't articulate something exactly the way you wanted. You did it!


If you want a second pair of eyes on your talk or presentation, reach out and book a presentation audit with me!

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