Three Things to Do the Night Before a Presentation
When preparing a presentation, time is of the essence. More often than not, we leave the finishing touches to the last minute and forget to leave time to prepare ourselves. Our PowerPoint slides may look fantastic, but we’re left scrambling to find the equipment we need and prepare our handouts and find ourselves rushing through a practice run of our presentation. Don’t fall into that eleventh-hour trap. Here are a few tips to help get you organized the night before so you can present with confidence.
- Time and Pace Your Presentation
Figure out how much time you need to explain each slide. Multiply this number by 1.5 and use that as a reference point for the total length of your presentation. Now, do a practice run and time yourself, allowing yourself a 2-3 second break after each sentence. This will help make sure you don’t rush through your presentation. If you find that the length of your presentation is shorter than your time slot, consider adding some more slides or explaining your content in more detail. If you’re going over your allotted time, it’s time to take some slides out.
- Prepare and Print Your Handouts
You can save time by creating a handout directly from your PowerPoint presentation. In PowerPoint 2013, simply go to File > Export > Create Handouts. In PPT 2010, go to File > Save & Send > Create Handouts. Another option is to create a one-page handout that summarizes the main points of your presentation. No matter what kind of handout you choose, make sure your contact information is clear and easy to read. And don’t forget to print out more than enough copies, just in case.
- Create a Checklist
Do you have the right cables to connect your laptop to the projector or monitor? Does the venue have its own presentation device you can use? Have you saved your presentation to a USB stick or uploaded it to a cloud service? Brainstorm all the “what-ifs” and potential obstacles and create a checklist. Take the time to go through each point on your list the morning before your presentation.
Following these steps the night before your presentation will reduce stress and allow you to be on top of your game.