More presentations are messed up by poor organisation than by inadequate preparation.
How can one substantiate such a statement? Quite easily actually, because you are usually asked to present on a topic with which you are familiar, so even if short on preparation, your knowledge may just carry you through.
The same cannot be said for poor organisation, because no matter how prepared you are, if your organisation is compromised by haphazard planning, particularly in the final 24 hours you are placed under pressure that is hard to overcome. Bad organisation creates panic, and panic slows you down. Without time you forget important things like switching your laptop power on at the wall thereby creating problems down the line.
Frankly, a presenters biggest asset is a ruthless attention to time management. With enough time at your disposal you can solve just about any problem. Here are 11 ways to use your time effectively so that you dazzle from the floor:
- Make sure you’ve set aside more days than you need to complete both your preparation of slides and notes, and do a few rehearsals.
- Have you prepared an introduction so that you get introduced the way you want to be introduced? Print our 2 copies and take them with you.
- Check your chosen outfit 5-7 days in advance. If it needs to be dry cleaned, you will have enough time to get it done.
- Do a careful check to ensure you have left nothing behind that you cannot do without, This may include a clicker, cable connector, power cables, adaptors, extension leads, cue cards and so on.
- Make sure you have access to the venue with enough spare time to familiarise yourself with the layout. This means having a contact name and numbers to call if necessary on arrival. You could need help with anything from last minute directions to a key to get in. If there are several presenters on the day, arriving early could mean you get asked to save the day by presenting early if one of the other presenters is running late for any reason.
- Is the venue suitable? Can you work with what you’ve been given? What adjustments do you need to make to the seating, blinds, placement of water jugs and glasses? Do your delegates have enough space? If you’re up first, these are things you can take control of.
- Check the lighting – does it need adjusting? Is it shining on the screen? You can ensure, with enough time that you’re not standing in a shadow or with a blinding light in your eyes. You also need to position yourself so that you are not obscuring someone’s view of the screen. This can, of course sometimes be difficult to avoid.
- Make sure you have time for a sound check. You may have to set this up yourself, or there may be a technician to lend a hand. Be charming and friendly – and you’ll find the techie will respond similarly. That’s someone you want on your side!
- Feel the air conditioning. The easiest way to have a distracted audience is if they are battling the cold, or they’re too hot.
- Is your laptop connecting to the data projector easily. Are the picture dimensions correct – not stretched or squashed? These are things that could take time to rectify.
- Do you have time for 5-7 nice slow deep breaths to relax you and help to get you into the right frame of mind 3 minutes before you step up to the podium?
You see there’s nothing better than being in the right frame of mind to deliver an important presentation. And there is no better friend than time to get you there, when you respect it.