How do you prepare?

Shut the laptop!

This vlog talks about how you prepare for your presentations and an alternative to opening up PowerPoint.

How do you prepare?

Here’s the summary if you don’t have the opportunity to watch the video.

How do you prepare for your presentations?

There is a way that I come across an awful lot and it maybe you or it may have been you in the past, but try this one on for size.

You have a request to deliver a presentation or a talk. So what you do is you open up your laptop. And conveniently, there is some sort of slide software there, usually PowerPoint. And you open up those and it conveniently gives you a format on those slides and where you can download your information usually, in the form of

bullet points, bullet points, bullet points,

new slide,

bullet point, bullet point, bullet point,

new slide.

And best put some pictures in there.

a bullet point.

and another picture

a bullet point

and so on and so forth.

Death by PowerPoint

So we create a slide deck with what we know we want to tell people.

And then if we’ve got time, we talk around those slides so that we’re familiar with our content, and then we deliver by talking around those slides. Sound familiar?

Recognize it? If you don’t do it yourself, you’ll definitely notice, some of those types of presentations because usually they are slide driven, they’re PowerPoint driven, they may even include a little bit of death by PowerPoint as well.

And certainly, the talk is someone talking around those slides. Not always the best way of putting across your core message.

An alternative way

So how do you prepare? Well here’s an alternative way that you might want to consider as you prepare for your presentations.

And that is someone asks you to talk. You identify in that conversation who those people are, what that that need is, what their outcome is likely to be, and what they already know, who they are. You’ll go out and you discover a lot about that audience.

Shut the laptop

And then you shut the laptop. You put it in a drawer and you lock that drawer, and you swallow the key which gives you a fair amount of time now before you can even open that drawer to open the laptop.

In that time, you work out what you want your outcome from that talk to be.

You identify your core message and why you’re delivering that talk in the first place.

Then you work out what you’re going to say to deliver on that outcome. So which bits of content are necessary in your talk in order for you to achieve that outcome?

Work out how you’re going to say it

When you’ve done that, you can work out how you’re going to say it. So which order, which sequence is that content going to be? The structure you are going to put on that content in that order. What stories are you going tell? The examples are you going to give or what evidence are you going to present? How are you going to persuade people, influence them and connect with them?

Now you can open the laptop (if you must)

And then and only then unlock the drawer, take the laptop out if you need to.

Bear in mind you might not need to even open up the laptop. You might decide that actually there is no place for slides in your talk. But if there is, you open up that laptop and you create and craft slides that fill in the gaps or reinforce your message or explain what you’re saying or add energy to what you’re saying.

A focused presentation

Now what you end up there with is a very targeted, very focused presentation. And if you’re using slides, or audio or video or props, you’ve chosen them very, very specifically to help you to aid you in that delivery. You’ll probably have far fewer than you would have otherwise, but the ones you have would be blumming good. Because they’ve been chosen specifically for the purpose.

How do you prepare?

Think about why you’re talking and what you’re going to talk about. Consider how you’re going to talk about it. And only then and only if you need to open up the laptop to look at any visual aids.

I hope that helps. Let me know and get on.

And of course please get in touch with me if you have any questions. I’d be happy to answer them.