You’ve been asked to deliver a presentation. It may be to your team, a local lunch and learn, or if you’re lucky you’ve been invited to deliver a pitch that could win you that big contract. Hurray for you!
You’ve known about this presentation for weeks. But you kept putting off sitting down and beginning to prepare because…
You’ve given this same talk before;
- It’s just a team meeting and doesn’t really matter;
- You hate presenting and are hoping they cancel;
- [Insert any excuse you want here.]
The moment you decided NOT to prepare ahead of time is the moment you decided you’re not going to be great. And now, it’s too late to be great.
Preparation begins earlier than you think in the presentation process.
‘Does it begin at the first practice session you do as you stand in front of the mirror with your slides?’
No, earlier than that.
‘Does it begin when you sit down to create the first slide?’
Nope, think earlier.
Preparation begins when you first think of your upcoming talk or presentation.
Unfortunately many of us believe if we start the day before a big presentation that we will be able to make significant changes in our delivery. Most often that is not the case for two reasons:
1. Preparation truly begins at the beginning – when you have the idea or call to do the presentation and,
2. Signification change happens over time and with a great deal of work. Even though you can boot-camp your way through some changes in preparation for a single event, chances are you will revert back to your old ways either during that very presentation due to stress, or in your very next presentation.
This isn’t new to those that study human behavior. We revert to our comfortable habits (good or bad) especially in times of stress. And lets face it, when people call a presentation coach (that would be me) its not because they are comfortable – it’s because they are stressed – usually because they are not prepared or because the presentation is significant.
If it’s that important, shouldn’t you start to prepare as soon as possible?
I’m writing about this not to keep you from getting the help you need at ANY time in the prep process. I’m sharing this point of view only to plant the seed in your brain for the NEXT presentation.
It’s important to take action as soon as you realize it’s needed. And even if you can’t be great, you can be good! And preparation at any stage will increase your odds of being better than if you did NOT prepare.
When you have a call to present and it’s a significant enough event that it causes you angst, let that be a sign to start the preparation now.
What do I mean by preparation?
Don’t limit yourself to the idea that preparation begins when you stand up with your completed slides and practice your talk. Practice is not the only element of preparation.
Preparation begins with you. You must know and understand your own strengths, your knowledge of the topic, and your expectations of the event. Preparation begins with knowing yourself and your content first, then moving through the process as your message evolves and you design and develop the right presentation for the situation and THEN you begin to practice the delivery.
Preparation begins at the beginning, preparation begins with you. And it’s never to late to work toward being great. Begin with your very next presentation.
Don’t wait to be great.
Need help? Reach out.