Brainstorming tips for your next presentation

brainstorming with post it notes


People have various methods for finding their creative inspiration. Some people follow the same methods every time and others have to change their process periodically in order for it to be effective for them.  When it comes to presentations and speeches, sometimes the hardest part is starting.

For most presentations, you have some degree of creative liberty to make the topic “your own” by adding some personal touches.  If you have trouble getting started, consider trying some of the methods below for your next presentation!

Once you find out that you have a presentation to prepare, map out your timeline until the event to discover the amount of time you can devote to preparation.  Even if your presentation is weeks away, starting early never hurts!

Erase the lines

Don’t confine your brainstorming, and consider looking deeper into the topic.  Sometimes the ideas that seem the most bizarre end up being the best solutions.

Engage in related or unrelated activities

Presentations can have a variety of themes and purposes. Sometimes it can be helpful to attend musical events, art exhibits, or the theater.  After the event, think critically about it and describe in writing or orally the things you saw, heard, or felt.  This might be a good way for you to start thinking creatively and ease the transition into forming your own presentation ideas.  If you typically find inspiration by spending time alone, consider going to a park or another place where you can reflect in your own thoughts peacefully.

Think out loud

Depending on the presentation, it may be helpful to collaborate with coworkers and bounce your ideas off another person.   Challenge the ideas from other people and encourage others to challenge your ideas for the presentation. If this is done effectively, you will be able to eliminate and narrow down the importance of certain topics. Ask people to pose as audience members and consider practicing your presentation in front of colleagues that are willing to give you constructive feedback.

Put the ideas on paper

Brainstorming can occur in an office, at the gym, or in a dream. Wherever you are, find a way to write down the ideas that come to you so you don’t forget them.  Some people create lists or draw pictures of their ideas.  Others start organizing their ideas as soon as they come to them and draw linked webs to expand off different points while visually seeing how they connect to the overall topic.  If you have limited time for preparation, start your creative process after you have determined the primary message of the presentation.


Once you have all the ideas on the table, start deciding what you will choose as the main focus of your presentation.  You don’t want to overload the audience with too much information, so narrow down your topic and decide on a couple key points to address.

Write the rough draft

The first draft of your presentation is likely to have some mistakes and might not be the right length that is necessary. It is okay to make a lot of changes and have several drafts before you perfect your final presentation. Don’t be scared to cut or add sections when needed. Practice a lot and double check for typos before you give the final presentation to your audience.



Main image courtesy of Jacob Bøtter



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Erica Martin

Business Developer at Beekast

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