4 Ways to Prepare a Presentation When You Are Pressed for Time
To make your presentation as powerful and persuasive as possible, it takes an investment of time.
But, especially in certain industries, you often don’t have the luxury of lots of time to memorize, edit, order and reorder slides, get feedback from friends, and rehearse over and over.
So here are some things you can do to prepare in a shorter amount of time.
1. Take the 1-3 most important themes and focus all of your energy on memorizing and practicing those
It’s easier to memorize a few main points than many points. This will help to focus the presentation and your prep process.
As long as you can remember the few dominant ideas or concepts you’re trying to convey, you can feel confident that you are prepared.
Ideally you would rehearse everything, but when pressed for time, you have to focus on the most important ones.
2. Cut your deck down to just 3 or 5 powerful and minimalistic slides.
This is the same idea, but now for the slides (if applicable). You want to focus your slides on the key concepts that are critical for the audience to understand.
Also cut out extra fluff and extraneous words, phrases and paragraphs. Get it down to just the absolute necessary points.
This saves you tons of time, and also makes the presentation more powerful and easier for the audience to understand.
3. Identify your top 3 speaking weaknesses and focus on improving those
If you feel you are weak in many areas, focus on your biggest weaknesses. You don’t have time to perfect everything, so try to bring those three major weaknesses up to par.
If you look around too much when speaking, practice delivering your speech with steady eye movement, looking at one single point (or one person’s eyes, if you can get a someone to help you prepare).
If you feel you move around too much, then practice being stable and calm.
If you feel you are too monotone, then practice a variety of vocal pitches.
Whatever your main weaknesses are, the things that really make the biggest negative impact on your presentation, focus on improving those and put the minor weaknesses on the back burner.
4. Maximize your top 3 speaking strengths
If you think your presentation contains no real weaknesses, but is still kind of boring or uninspiring, then turn to your strengths.
Maybe you have a strong, powerful voice. Maybe you’re great at telling jokes. Maybe you are an excellent storyteller.
Whatever specific potential you have, bring that out and make that the highlight or highlights of your presentation. Even if the rest of the presentation is merely average, you will stand out and make an impact.