Which part of your preparation took the most time?

A great presentation takes time. None of them fall from the heavens perfectly constructed and no great presenter steps on the stage having just written their piece last night. So which part of preparation took the most time in your last presentation? It was the wrong bit.

The majority of presenters believe that the totality of their presentation lies within the supportive media. It contains all the data that is required for the audience and consequently works as both a perfect script and handout. These three functions make up the slideument. Constructing the perfect supportive media (p2) takes the most time.

The needs of the audience are paramount in constructing a presentation and consequently consideration of the audience needs must be a priority. A clear understanding of the travel for the audience from the beginning to the end of the presentation gives the best structure for a presentation and this should take the most time. The whole purpose of a presentation is the transfer of information and a great presenter gives this priority. Whatever the content, it is the nature of the p1 that engages the audience and will be taken from the presentation. Even a great handout will not match a great p1. This should take the most time.

Once the perfect presentation is constructed (p1 + p2) it only has value if it is effectively delivered (p3). Practise is essential and this is more than simple repetition reading from a laptop. No great performer steps onto a stage uncertain of the realities of their piece and yet so few presenters actually make time for effective practise.

Preparation on the day of a presentation also plays an important part in the effective delivery. Many a great presentation is lost between the last practise and the the opening remarks. Arriving early at the event, meticulously checking the technology, planning your route to the stage and your calming routine all take time. If these are omitted the risks of failure rise.

Consider how much time you gave each of these steps for the last presentation and understand where you need to spend more time for the next. For me, it is practise.

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