How Do You Prepare Yourself For a Presentation?

Great Question!  All of the items in the other answer are correct, and there are several other things that one must do when preparing for a presentation as well.

1)  Practice, Practice, Practice

This doesn’t mean memorizing the words, it just means getting used to
the flow of the presentation, the slides, and the body language you will use during each section.  Looking awkward or nervous can destroy a presentation’s impact even if the content is mind-blowing.

2)  Plan What You Will Do If You Are Running Short Or Long

The guy before you could be a talker, or he could finish super-early.  Place some slip-slides into your presentation that you can skip and click-through if you need to make up time, and think of some extra stories you can tell to really drive the points home if you do find yourself with extra time (which is rare).

3)  Understand Your Audience

This goes a bit to what the first answer stated.  Know everyone in your audience, and more importantly, know who you are pitching to.  If you have 500 sales associates in the room but the three senior managers in the back are going to decide if you make the sale, then make sure you are pitching to those three senior managers and giving them what you want.  If you know that one portion of the crowd is not going to like your message, and another portion is going to love it, come up with a strategy to soften the blow against the haters, and tailor your message towards the ones who will be enthusiastic.

4)  Know The Room Layout

If you are someone who needs to refer to the slides to be successful, and you get into the room only to realize that the slides are going to be displayed 25 feet above your head, you are in for an awkward presentation and a sore neck.  It is important to understand what the room is going to look like for a variety of other reasons as well, but just make sure you know.

5)  Make Them Remember You

There have to be a few things in your presentation that they will remember.  Whether it is a funny story, a bold declaration, a wild prediction, or a call to action, you need to drive home a few “Memory Moments” into each presentation.  Five years from now, someone should be able to recall one memorable moment from your presentation, and it better not be that you said “uh” 95 times in 13 minutes.

I hope that helps.  Good luck out there!

Todd Hagopian

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on September 23, 2011, in Executive Presence and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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