June 12, 2014

6 Tips for Storyboarding Your Entire Presentation in Under 10 Minutes

Mariano Suarez-Battan

Co-founder & CEO at MURAL. Putting imagination to work. Endeavor Entrepreneur from Argentina. Working remotely from the Bay Area. Past life in video games, now bringing fun to enterprise SaaS.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was challenged with the task of creating a presentation on MURAL on very short notice. Luckily for me, I was able to whip up a draft of a storyboard for my presentation to showcase an app that lets you do just that. :)

After this experience, I realized that I’d done a pretty good job (not my first time) and I wanted to share my secrets for success with you. So I present you with...

6 tips for creating a storyboard very quickly.

Snow white

CONTENT

1) Focus on highlights, structure it later.

I knew I wanted to focus on three points, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to introduce them. I first drafted these main ideas separately, because those key points would make up the bulk of the presentation. Mine were about the movement we are part of, the biggest news and the asks I wanted to get out of the audience.

2) Draw!

Even if you are not an amazing artist, there nothing more personal than a hand drawn sketch. Sunni Brown is the leader of a Doodle Revolution and Dan Roam has been explaining hard content on the backs of napkins for a while. They have a lot of followers; they must be doing something right.

(If you are scared, don’t be! We can all draw. If you are still scared, you can always look for a picture online that demonstrates the point you are trying to make… you’ll probably need more time for this though.)

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3) Draft doodles are perfect 90% of the times you are presenting.

Following up on the last point, storyboards are designed to visualize your story FAST. So don’t spend a lot of time polishing the details. Instead, shoot for a rough prototype and start iterating to a higher definition from there.

STRUCTURE

4) The first 10 seconds are key.

I had my wife be the first test audience... it wasn’t until the 3rd of 4th frame that I contributed something that she was interested in. I moved that to the front. Think about your story in chunks that ask for permission from your audience to keep talking.

5) Add some non-linear storytelling

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People are used to maps. Google Maps offers 3 alternative paths to a destination and it’s probably one of the most used apps around.

You can tap on people’s visual understanding when having to express three related ideas. Maybe you are going  horizontal, but for a point where you have three related scenes you can branch it out and have people see that they are related before you go deeper into each of them.

JJ Abrams did it for Lost (check out his studio), so you can also do it in your own story.

6) End with a call to action

Infomercials are still around because they work. They are story driven, cater to a problem, and most of the time do it with a crappy solution… BUT, the format is great.

The second most important part after the 10 initial seconds is the call to action. BUY NOW will probably not make it, but visit a site, download an app, share this with your bowling buddies… whatever. Your story needs to move people into action, so let them know how to.

BONUS TRACK - PRESENTING

7) The storyboard is not your presentation.

The more polished slides are not the presentation. They support your show and your message. You are your presentation. So practice. A lot. Ideally with a small audience, but solo or with your dog are also recommended.

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8) Follow your style.

I’m a very “last minute” type of guy. It fills me up with energy. That’s why I love cloud based software: so I don’t have to “send the presentation” up front and can make last minute changes after listening to my muse. I had MURAL running on an LTE iPad so I took advantage of the ride to make some last minute changes to stress a point. Given that I had already practiced enough, it was no problem to tweak the presentation and then rock it live.

9) Get someone to record you.

It will be a great way to see where you were performing better. Protip: film from the side so that you can get some audience reactions as well.

10) Have a drink and celebrate after your show.

Couldn’t stop at 9 points. Besides, beer is good for creativity, anyway.

Interested in MURAL for iPad? Let us know and we'll get you inside our Beta.