This method is an example of the plan step of MAP, discussed in an earlier blog. It is extremely important to distinguish it from the GPS (Get Powerpoint Slides) method of preparation, which involves throwing together all the nicest slides within reach.

The first step of the method is to do nothing at all.

I do not look at any existing PowerPoint, webpages, books, fortune cookies or other sources of wisdom.

Then, I take a blank piece of paper and write down my own ideas for what I will present/say. I write full sentences (not bullet points – full sentences are more committing and they catch ideas more completely), organising them under a few mutually-exclusive headings. William Freeman, a consultant and toastmaster in Cambridge, England gives some excellent guidelines on how to do this. He calls the result a Two Minute Message (TMM) and, though it may take a while to write, reading it back should only take about two minutes.

Simple as this procedure may be, you will probably need to either read William’s book ( or come on a training course in order to use it effectively. Alternatively, if you already have a method for producing a short synopsis of a document/presentation, by all means use it! The key is to do this “blindfold” – before looking at the mountains of “stuff” that already exists.

Starting work blindfold produces much better, more original results. Once the synopsis is done (just one page should do it) then the blindfold can come off and the rest of the creation process is straightforward. It has suddenly become much easier to select existing slides that support my storyline. I put aside the others, however pretty, since they would get in the way of the main message.

Of course, I may not be able to cover everything with the available material, but at least I will have a clear idea of the gaps to fill. This is where I can create new material, and it doesn’t always have to have a .ppt(x) extension either! Flip charts, white boards, live demonstrations, mime – anything goes to break away from the monotony of bullet-point-laden slides (DBPPT - Death by PowerPoint).

I guarantee that Steve jobs did not prepare his presentations by sifting through a mountain of old PowerPoint – and neither should we!

To go further: