We all know that sinking feeling you get when an email request from your big boss arrives asking you to present at the next quarterly meeting.
A positive and polite response “certainly, I would love to”, masks an inner monologue that screams “are you kidding me?!”.
You have two choices…
You can either hide in the stationery cupboard hoping that the presentation goes away (which it won’t), commit career suicide and refuse to present, or you can take a deep breath and meet this challenge head on like you do every other.
Take that breath, because we have your back.
At Eyeful we are used to presentation SOS requests heading our way and we tackle these by following a structured and sensible approach that is about using the time wisely and to maximum impact.
5 Steps To Remove Presentation Panic…
Step 1 – Prioritise your workload
Assess your to-do-list and push back anything that can be until after the date of the presentation.
Now assess honestly how many hours you can dedicate to your presentation preparation before dividing your time up percentage wise in the following 4 steps…
Focusing and prioritising your time will help to keep you calm and you’ll create a better, more effective presentation at the same time. It’s win-win.
Step 2 – Create A Message For Your Audience
Allocate 35% of your time early on to consider your presentation objectives (Must, Intend, Like).
Write these down and they will help you to identify the content and visuals that are truly engaging your audience and point them in the right direction.
Now profile your audience, a quick and easy way to do this is here in our free Presentation Healthcheck service.
With your objectives clear in your mind and your audience in focus (with an audience heatmap), you will now have some strong ideas on how to best to share your message.
Get this down on paper as a storyflow, which is essentially the flow of the presentation in a list of chapter headings. Share this with some trusted colleagues and ask for honest feedback. Listen and action accordingly.
Don’t be tempted to keep changing it as you will burn time. Trust your instincts.
Step 3 – Plan Your Content
Review the storyflow against the slides you have and remove anything that doesn’t support your message. Don’t forget to make sure you have a call to action that it is aligned to your objectives and key message.
Work your way through the slides removing as many words as you can and highlight any gaps in your story.
Sketch out new slides that need to be created on paper and again ask colleagues for their honest feedback. Planning a storyboard on paper easily allows you to see what works and what doesn’t easily and quickly.
Once this is done you can start to create your final presentation…
Step 4 – PowerPoint Presentation Design
Firstly, go for some quick wins. You can easily swap text based content out for images or diagrams? PowerPoint 2016’s new Icon functionality makes visualising key messages a lot easier too.
Always play your presentation through making sure titles and colours are consistent and that all the animation works as it should.
Step 5 – Rehearse
When deadlines are tight there will be a huge temptation to forgo the practice stage and work on the creation of your presentation right up until the last minute. But you must fight this.
Working on your presentation into the late hours the night before is not advisable. The last thing you want to be doing is heading into your presentation in a tired state with unfamiliar slides.
You must leave at least 10% of your time for practising delivering your presentation. Doing this on your own is fine, but if you have access to a tripod you could video yourself on your phone and review yourself. This is a great way to self improve before testing your delivery out in front of your colleagues.
Follow these 5 steps and when you present you will come across more authentically, look more professional and give all the hard work you’ve done the best chance to succeed.
Best of luck.