The very best outcome of delivering a presentation is to achieve your intended result, regardless of the compliments you achieve. That’s why you went to all the trouble in the first place. It feels wonderful to “pull it off” successfully. But successful presentations don’t just happen, they take some work to put together and deliver properly – so it takes time and effort.
The important question is, are you giving yourself every chance of getting it right, or are your efforts being hindered by, well, lack of planning?
On analysis, two of the main reasons why presentations fail are lack of confidence, lack of time or both. These are not the only possible reasons, but in my book here’s why they could be the main ones:
What of lack of time, and how does time management effect your presentations?
If you place your upcoming presentation high on your list of priorities, it is more likely you will allocate more time to being prepared – because you’ve flagged it as important. Generally, the most popular response to a looming presentation deadline is to get cracking on the slideshow. That’s probably the first mistake. Try this rather:
Sit down, away from all distractions, and consider, very carefully what you want to achieve with your presentation. Visualise the audience response, their actions afterwards and how you will measure success. Then set about planning the content of your conclusion only. Once you know how you plan to end, it becomes simple to formulate an introduction. With the intro now in place you have only the body of your presentation to consider. That’s the easy part, because you are the subject expert!
The time waster to avoid is the clutter trap. Preparing a content-heavy presentation takes time – lots of it. It takes time to create slides and time to rehearse. If you can chop out all the unnecessary detail by giving your audience only the information they need to make a decision, you save loads of preparation time and you won’t overload your audience. So it’s out with the clutter – less content, less slides and less information and text on your slides. A concise presentation is a lot easier and less stressful to rehearse. It’s also easier on your audience.
Lastly, take time to consider your logistics. These include suitability of the venue, set up, testing of equipment, room temperature and even checking your clothing. A last minute check could be critical – it’s easy to forget a name tag on. It will be particularly annoying to you when you watch the video afterwards.
If you’ve utilised your time efficiently in the preparation stages, here’s a final great way to completely mess it up on the day. Arrive late. This will cast your carefully laid plans asunder, and plunge your composure into disarray. Of course, it happens more often than you would believe, but after reading this, I hope – never to you!