Presentations – Prepare or Panic?

As for those who are clearly flailing, then perhaps all preparation has been forgotten in favour of nerves. But only the supremely confident will make the statement above, and even then there must have been some elements of preparation, if only being sure that prior experience combined with good industry and audience knowledge are enough.
How do you prepare?
Do you panic?
Do you rehash your last presentation? What if it didn’t work the last time? Is it simply a case of fingers crossed and hope for the best?
Do you write some PowerPoint slides around your subject and then plan out what you’ll say afterwards?
These methods are a bit like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey. You might hit the spot, but you might not. Your audience will certainly let you know that you haven’t if you fail to prepare properly. It’s also unfair to lead them on a mystery tour if you’re rambling through PowerPoint slides with no clear path.
The key to preparation is to know beforehand what you want to achieve from your presentation.
What do you want your final outcome to be? More signups to courses? Knowledge transfer? Whatever this goal is, write it in big letters, stick it on a wall where you can easily see it and ensure every aspect of your presentation can be justified by that goal. Just as all projects need a business case, so do your presentations.
You also need to be able to gauge your success criteria for your presentation and this also requires preparation. Do you want quantifiable or qualified results? How will you measure your success? Can you relate it all to your desired results easily?
If you prepare carefully for a presentation and think carefully about the results you want to achieve with the audience you have then your presentation should be successful and fun. If you simply wing it; then prepare for your credibility to fly out of the window…
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