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15 Tips: How to Prepare for a Last Minute Presentation

by PowerSpeaking, Inc.     Oct 24, 2013 10:46:00 AM

Did you just find out that you need to give a presentation in 90 minutes? Here are a few easy and effective tips to help organize and present that next mission-critical presentation.

 Organizing Your Content

  • Develop a short, clear one sentence main message, i.e. "I have a dream."

  • An analogy, metaphor or memorable phrase for the main message increases retention, i.e. Informix's " The database with the future built in."

  • Repeat your main message a number of times during the presentation. Use the exact wording each time.

  • Stories and personal experience create longer retention. Illustrate points with stories, i.e. "Last week when I called on Bob Johnson, the CEO of Acme Jeans in Seattle, he said, 'You know John, using your customer service strategy has doubled our market share.' Then he said..."

PowerPoint Is Not The Talk...You Are!

  • Build your talk first, then add visuals as you need them. Do not let PowerPoint templates determine your content.

  • Use fewer visuals, not more. People are persuaded by you and respond to you, not slides.

  • Begin and end your presentation without visuals. People remember longer what they hear at the beginning and at the end. Your main message will have more impact without slides.

  • Design the talk so that every, say, seven to ten minutes you can turn off the projector and just talk to people. In PowerPoint you can just hit the "B" button to make your screen go blank. Hit it again to make the slides come back.

  • When referring to a slide, stand at the screen, facing the audience and use a pointer to highlight the key words or images.

Drive It Home With Style

  • The way to build style is to practice your presentation in real rehearsal. That is, standing up, moving around, speaking out loud.

  • In rehearsal, exaggerate everything. Talk louder, use longer pauses, wave your arms around, move from point to point and look 'em in the eye. Strong "in your face" style feels unnatural and phony, yet looks confident to the audience.

  • This is no time for the soft-spoken, self-effacing, humble approach. Throw back your shoulders and let 'er rip. You almost can't overdo the style, as contrived as it feels.


  • After asking for questions, wait a few moments. It may take people awhile to think of any. If no ones asks a question, ask your own: "You know, a question that often comes up when I give these talks is..."

  • Repeat questions for clarity. Answer to the whole group so everyone feels included.

  • If you don't know the answer, agree to find out and get back to them.

Now, you've got the tools. Knock 'em dead!

Related Blog Posts: Six Strategies For How To Control Timing, "A Shining City On The Hill" How A Metaphor Can Touch Your Audience, Five Game Changing Principles of Presenting Slides

About the Author

PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Topics: Presentation, Organization, Stories, Opening Tips, Style, Core Message, ToolKit, PowerPoint

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