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#523: It's Hard to Overprepare For a Presentation

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I have a big presentation and I want to make sure I am prepared. Do you have any suggestions for me?

It seems that regardless of how experienced we are as presenters, we seem to forget the basics as our confidence grows, sometimes with bad outcomes. When preparing for a presentation, remember to take the following steps:
  1. Make sure to do a complete "dry run" of your presentation. Give a simulated performance including standing up, advancing the slides, speaking out loud to your imaginary audience, and so on. Better to find out now about miscalculations in timing, botched slides, questions that come up in your own mind about coherence of your thoughts.
  2. Think about the questions that might be asked by your audience and rehearse your answers in advance. Do you need another slide or data in your hip pocket to address these fully?
  3. Check your equipment and supplies (including your overhead projector, computer, remote, other A/V, flip charts, etc.) Try to have a back up readily available in case any of your equipment malfunctions. Some presentations can go on without technology, others can't.
  4. arrive early (or check out the venue the day before) so you can set up the room and arrange seating, ensure there are no new equipment issues, and once again run through any of the more challenging aspects of your presentation.
  5. Create a checklist containing all of your planned preparation steps so that you don't miss something critical. As an experienced speaker, you should have been developing one of these over the years, refining it with each presentation (including presentations by other speakers).
Tip: Practice makes perfect. Be prepared. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Chance favors the prepared mind. These and many more sayings about advance work are memorable for a reason. listen to them.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  meeting preparation  presentations  speaking 

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Comments on this post...

Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Practice to get the timing right. I've always thought 20 slides/hour is a good guideline. 3 minutes/slide.
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