Applying TV news approaches to PowerPoint.

Making PowerPoints into newscasts is easier than one thinks.
Making PowerPoints into newscasts is easier than one thinks. | Source

Cross-pollinating ideas for presentations

When doing a PowerPoint presentation, sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. The Blank Page Syndrome can be a real challenge to get beyond. There is an easy way to give yourself a jump start, however . . . experts call it cross-pollination. In this case, it means borrowing ideas or approaches from another source, like television news shows.

If you want to avoid doing another boring PowerPoint that contains nothing but miles and miles of ordinary bullet point pages, consider taking a theme approach. Create a simulated news program that employs the graphics, music, journalistic angles, and personalities that make TV newscasts so lively and engaging. How does one do this with PowerPoint? Not as difficult as you may think.

You will need to do a little photography, using people who can play the role of on-camera anchors or reporters. Pose them at a simple desk, in front of a plain background, and then PhotoShop in the news studio backgrounds, story graphics, etc. For a news theme, pick some lively, upbeat music that sounds similar to the popular news shows in your area (check out the middle of Mason Williams original Classical Gas recording, featuring a horn riff). Throw in some simulated on-location shots of reporters doing a live stand-up (video snippets or simple still shots)…. title graphics at the bottom of the screen, listing people’s names or locations…and maybe a few transition slides of stories to come. And then you will pretty much have the makings of a mock newscast.

Most importantly, take the basic information you want to impart to your audience (the latest corporate earnings, a new product being introduced, etc.), and write it in the guise of a late-breaking story being featured on the newscast (as if the anchor or reporter were delivering it). Record voice-over narration for the stories, which you can insert slide-by-slide in the PowerPoint.

Magazine and talk show angles.

And, if you need a little more help coming up with ideas, try these on for size. Some typical subjects covered in magazine format programs or talk shows include food, pets, plants, music, movies, travel, sports, leisure activities, local attractions, stories of community interest (light or serious, but usually light in nature), interesting personalities.

Also, magazine show producers look for these elements in potential stories:

  • An interesting hook, or angle – an unusual or creative way to catch the viewer’s attention.
  • Enthusiasm
  • Fresh words, ideas
  • Local interest (local or state connections)
  • Visual interest. Something interesting to look at. Outdoor locales are often chosen.
  • The unusual or unconventional — human interest stories that regular newscasts often don’t have time for. The focus is on things you don’t see or do everyday.

Finally, hard core news shows have commonly employed the “six compelling C’s” as their rule of thumb as to what stories are deemed newsworthy:

  • Catastrophe
  • Crisis
  • Conflict
  • Crime
  • Corruption
  • Color (or human interest)

For more ideas on how to put Power in your PowerPoints, see the blog “57-Story-Building

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