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How to Storyboard your Presentation for the Best Results (Product Launch Case Study)

How to Storyboard your Presentation for the Best Results (Product Launch Case Study)

Anuj Malhotra

Anuj Malhotra

March 7 2016

“Now at our studios we don’t write our stories, we DRAW them.” Walt Disney


Storyboards, one of the essential tools in making of animated movies, happens to be one of the most neglected practices in designing a PowerPoint presentation. The most common reason could be that many are not aware of this technique. If you have never done storyboarding on account of this reason, then you have landed at the right place. You’ll know why it’s absolutely necessary that you do it to get the best results from your presentation.


If you knew about it and still never followed it, we just hope you start doing it right away. Storyboarding is a must if you wish to save time, money, efforts and create a “deck that sells”.


What is Storyboarding and Why Should You Do It?


A storyboard is a written and graphic representation of your story and typically involves a series of sketches to pre-visualize how your story will unfold. In one word, it’s a blueprint.


This technique was developed by Walt Disney for his classic cartoon Mickey Mouse in the 1920s. The animators would first create detailed sketches of the characters and show the progression of the story. These sketches were tacked up to the bulletin and Walt Disney and his team would then review the entire flow of the story, move the sketches around and finalize the perfect storyline!


One problem here: Presenters aren’t animators who can design great sketches. They don’t have to be. Storyboarding can be simplified in case of designing a PowerPoint presentation. You don’t have to draw the kind of visual you want for your slide, you can simply write it down. Why do that even? Why add an extra step to the entire process? Here’s why storyboarding is essential to craft a successful pitch:


  • Storyboards help you to visualize the structure of your presentation- beginning, middle and end.
  • It gives you the opportunity and space to think-out your presentation, it's flow and content. Starting straight in PowerPoint murders that ability of the intellect.
  • It gives you creative ideas. The array of tools provided in PowerPoint will not set your creative juices flowing. A piece of paper will.
  • Storyboards act as your sketchpad where you can dump all the ideas and choose the best ones.
  • Storyboarding lets you focus on the idea and not the tool. (Click to Tweet This)
  • Storyboarding saves you a LOT of time. Rather than visualize all the information in your head, you can draw it out on paper, make quick changes and replicate the final idea quickly in PowerPoint.


To sum up, the basic rule of Storyboarding is to-


Start on paper, not in PowerPoint!


All successful presenters, including TED speakers, use this technique to craft their powerful stories and PowerPoint presentations. How do they do it? Here’s how:


7 Steps to Follow While Storyboarding a Presentation


For ease of understanding, in this article we are taking the example of a Product Launch deck (a hypothetical product) to be rolled out in front of the public and media. This has to be hard hitting and worthy of going viral. To ensure that you achieve the results, you need to brainstorm and storyboard. Here are the steps that you should follow for your million-dollar presentation:


Step 1: Answer the question- Why should the audience listen to you?

You have launched a new product in the market. Congratulations! But why should I care? What’s in it for me? Advertisers start here, presenters bury it in slide 32 of a 40-slide deck.


Unless you answer this question honestly, you’ll never be able to create a successful story. The “me, me, me” rambling will reduce your presentation to an uninspiring monologue. Look at how Steve Jobs pitches his products- each product and feature revolves around how it will revolutionize people’s lives.


You’ll never be able to infuse that magic in your presentations if you start straightaway in PowerPoint. If you dive into PowerPoint without any brainstorming, you robotically tend to follow “Click here to enter title” and so on. That’s why out of 3 million presentations given everyday (the number must have trebled or quadrupled by now), 99.9% are forgotten even before audience leaves the hall.


Ask the why- Why should the audience care? Since we are taking the example of product launch over here, the answer will be the same as the one that motivated you to launch the product in the first place. Is there a demand in the market that you intend to fulfill? Or a gap that you intend to bridge? That should be the main pitch of your deck. Jot down these points on a piece of paper or sticky notes or as you prefer to do it. This piece of information should guide the content and designing of the presentation, starting to finish.


Why should the audience listen to you?


Step 2- Prepare Rough Presentation Outline

This should be done on paper, not in PowerPoint. We prefer to use sticky notes for this as they can be easily moved around; you may use a paper, napkin or simply a marker and whiteboard to do it. The idea here is to give a rough structure to your presentation.


Jot down any outline ideas that come to your mind, we’ll refine them later. If the Title slide announcing the launch is the only idea that comes to you for the opening slide, write it down.

Here’s how your Product Launch outline will probably look initially:


Create a Rough Presentation Outline


Step 3- Remove the Weak Parts

The best part of doing all this on paper and not in PowerPoint is that it helps the presenter distance himself from his baby (presentation) and review the outline as a third person. This will ensure that the presenter separates the wheat from the chaff and keeps only the most relevant slides.


Here you have to ask yourself- Do I need an Agenda slide? Perhaps not if it’s just a 15-minute presentation. Does the audience care who the CEO of the brand is, who the product manager is and so on. I don’t think so. Do they need to know about the industry your product belongs to? That depends. And do you need a traditional thank you slide in the end? You are as well going to say it, why put these two words on the slide and waste time! Be a little strict with yourself and mercilessly chuck out the unwanted portions from the outline:


Remove weak parts of presentation


Step 4- Add Section Headers

Your presentation outlook looks good now. But you won’t obviously be listing out all problems the industry is facing on one slide as bullet points, right? Right? Or highlight all product benefits on a single slide? Remember the golden rule: 1 message per slide. That’s why you will be needing section headers. You need to let the audience know that you have concluded the problem analysis and are now going to speak on the solutions.


Section Headers help audience stay on the same page as the presenter


Step 5- Prepare Your Final Presentation Outline

Nothing is final. Even when your product launch deck is all polished and ready, you might feel or your boss might tell you to open with the third slide since that has the most hard-hitting fact.


But for your ease, you should finalize the outline before going into design. At this stage when you have the rough outline with section headers included, you step back and play your presentation in mind. Think yourself sitting in the audience. Would they be more interested to know the name of the new product in the market (say R.I.P Jeans) or would they be interested in knowing that they can now order customized distressed jeans! This is your call but keep in mind that you need to have a stellar opening to hook the audience and convince them to buy your product, service or idea. This is where the answer to step 1- why should the audience care, how will it benefit them- will help you in finalizing the outline.


Final Presentation Outline Can Depart from the Norm


Step 6- Storyboard the Presentation (Rough Sketches of Slides)

Now is the time to draw rough sketches of your slides. You don’t have to be a Michelangelo to do this. The sketch should be neat enough to be read easily by you and others with whom you wish to brainstorm. As we mentioned in the beginning, you do not have to draw a visual. You can however specify the type of visual you require; that’ll help you later find the perfect visual faster.


You can also decide the layout of your slide, colors, placement of visuals and text in storyboarding. Here’s how your sketches look at this step:


Storyboarding involves a series of sketches arranged in a sequence


Step 7- Convert sketches into polished slides

If you had started designing your slides straightaway in PowerPoint, you most probably would have designed a run-of-the-mill deck stuffed with anything you find on the web. Needless to say, your product launch deck would have lacked the storyline, the pitch and the punch it deserved.
Knowing the elements- visuals, text, icons, etc. you need for each slide, you can now open up PowerPoint and effortlessly create a deck that sells. That too in no time as you only had to replicate it from a piece of paper! Here’s how the ideas on paper get transformed into brilliant designs and an unforgettable product launch deck:


Slide1: Opening presentation with impact

Slide2- Another research finding to supplement the opening pitch

Slide3- Introduce your new product or brand

Slide4- Section Header- The problem in the market

Slide5- Problem 1

Slide6- Problem 2

Slide7- Problem 3

Slide8- Problem 4

Slide9- Section Header- Why Choose Us

Slide10- Brand Superiority Factor 1

Slide11- Brand Superiority Factor 2

Slide12- Brand Superiority Factor 3

Slide13- Section Header- Our Products

Slide14- Product Range 1

Slide15- Product Range 2

Slide16- Product Range 3

Slide17- Product Range 4

Slide18- Section Header- Product Launch Analysis

Slide19- Identifying the target market (STP Analysis)

Slide20- Target Market (STP Analysis)

Slide21- Segmentation involves analysing demographic, geographic and psychographic components of target market

Slide22- Positioning the Brand is very important as it forms your brand image

Slide23- Section Header- Product Benefits

Slide24- Innumerate your product features and benefits

Slide25- Show your pricing advantage over competitors

Slide26- Highlight your competitive advantage over rival brands

Slide27- Conclude the Presentation with a lasting impact and product pitch


The above case study of a hypothetical product launch presentation gives you an idea how to go about crafting a memorable story that has a beginning, middle and end. Needless to say, the presentation slides would have looked nothing like the above if we had started right away in PowerPoint.


Microsoft PowerPoint is a great tool to visually pitch your ideas but it won't help you in idea generation. For that you have to rely on the age old practice of jotting down your ideas on paper, refine those ideas and finally bring them to the machine. This will save you a lot of time and your presentation will look thousand times better. Still need help with storyboarding your presentation? Contact our Presentation Design Services Team for any help.


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26 thoughts on “How to Storyboard your Presentation for the Best Results (Product Launch Case Study)”
  1. Nguyen Hong Phuc
    Nguyen Hong Phuc
    This article is fantastic. I have been dealing with the presentation in Power Point and always ending up with a very boring flow which really frustrates my creativity. I thank you for the very meaningful advice.
    1. slideteam
      Our pleasure Nguyen! And we hope you craft an excellent story in your next presentation and all other presentations in future. We'll be happy to hear how they went. :)
  2. Tom Ruvoli
    I agree that this article is great! I have been struggling with making my presentations flow and your tips and suggestions will help me share a logically and clear story! Thank you for all the articles that you have been posting, I learn something new each time!
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Tom, your compliments are a great morale booster. We will keep sharing new hacks and tips for readers like you. Stay tuned :)
  3. Rich Berger
    The reason that this article is excellent is that it showed me that creativity comes from thinking through the whole presentation, and not just the words. I tend to have very "wordy" slides, this visually gave me ideas on how to move to more impactful results. THANKS.
    1. slideteam
      Well put Rich, indeed creativity comes by looking at the big picture. Glad you liked the post, thanks.
  4. Ellis
    good post, very useful
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Ellis!
  5. Anita Kapoor
    Fantastic post!
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Anita! :)
  6. Rupert
    I’m so happy to read this. Appreciate your sharing this informative post.
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Rupert! We are glad you found the post useful. :)
  7. Kapil Gala
    I really found this article interesting. Being in presentation industry for a decade now, I have never looked at presenting slides this way.

    Kindly share more info/articles on Storyboarding.

    Anything to explain traditional slide making vs. Storyboarding??
    1. slideteam
      We are glad you liked the article, Kapil. We will definitely work on another post on Storyboarding. Where traditional slide making is concerned, it is the same, run-of-the-mill pattern- Title Slide, Agenda, Introducing Yourself, Introducing Company, Product Features, and so on. It is a We-We rant. It is only about I, not the 'You' or the customer. Storyboarding allows us to distance ourselves from the topic, see it from the user's point of view and mould the content accordingly. That leads to far better results, audience interest and action.
  8. Mary Zu
    Interesting! I've been doing a business presentation for my company and delivering direction to our clients but I never consider the framework just like what you did. Thank you! I can use this for our next year business planning presentation.

    Currently, I am also improving my presentation in terms of public speaking with Career Academy. It's really really to found interesting templates like this to improve my skills.
    1. slideteam
      We are happy to hear that Mary. Wishing you great success in your presentation career! :)
  9. Tim Wright
    While I like all of the example slides, I'm surprised how few of them follow the Rule of Third, previously posted.
    1. slideteam
      Yes Tim, you spotted it right. Rule of Thirds is an effective composition technique but it is not the only one. You can guarantee yourself a professional, crisp slide if you follow this rule but it's not necessary you can't achieve the same by trying out something new. As we had shown in our Rule of Thirds post, even centred images can overpower off-centred images (rule of thirds). We suggest you try this rule where it is possible but let it not bind your creativity. We are glad you have an eye for details- a powerful asset for a designer.
  10. Prasad Tiruvalluri
    Prasad Tiruvalluri
    Hi -This is a good presentation idea. However, if I had to prepare word heavy presentation, as some presentations tend to be, do you have any ideas about presenting them. Currently I use SmartArt Graphics heavily to do it but I would like to explore if there are any better ways.
    1. slideteam
      Hi Prasad, we have written an article exclusively addressing this concern of presenters. Here's the article link-
      1. Prasad Tiruvalluri
        Prasad Tiruvalluri
        Thanks. This is exactly the post I was looking for. Thanks.
        1. slideteam
          Very happy to hear that! :)
  11. Sue Ryan
    Just found your post. Excellent content; really helped me visualize the process and see how I can create it for myself. Thank you for your quality work. I will definitely reach out for your services if I can't nail this! Also found great help in your article about converting bullet point slides to amazing
    Thank you!!!
    1. slideteam
      Hi Sue, thanks for your lovely feedback about both the articles. Indeed, reach out to us whenever you need help for your presentation. We'll be happy to assist :)
  12. Cat
    This is exactly how I do it! I did also find a few good tips in there as well. Thanks for writing this and I will share it!
    1. slideteam
      Thank you so much, Cat! Glad you follow this approach too :)
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