As a busy professional, you know that sometimes you need to prep for important presentations on the fly. Whether you are literally reviewing your notes on and airplane, or you need a mental refresh before running in the door, here are 5 prep tips that will keep you sounding on point and on top of things even when on the go.
1. Start with your key talking points
Having a bullet list of the most important notes to hit during your presentation will help you make sure you accomplish your goals to the best of your ability. Think of this as the cliff notes version of your presentation. Think about what outcomes you want to achieve through the presentation. Focus your attention on the who, the what, and the why of your presentation and build off that framework for a natural yet productive presentation.
2. Write a script, but don’t memorize it
It’s helpful to imagine what you would say word for word, creating a detailed script of your ideal presentation. But don’t feel obligated to memorize that script word for word. Understanding and workshopping what you want to say on paper is important, but the best presenters are able to speak naturally and comfortably about the subject whether or not they have a script. In fact, a script can be a crutch that actually hinders the effectiveness of your presentation. So, consider your script to be like your homework to help prepare for the final exam. You won’t have your answers all laid out in front of you, but by doing the work ahead of time, you will be better prepared to share your expertise.
3. Find your speaking style
Your natural speaking style is unique to you, and as such only you can define that style. What makes you special is your personality, your experience, your style, which can all be brought in to make a presentation more engaging and interesting for your audience. Finding your speaking style can take time and practice, but a great way to start is by listening to other speakers who you admire, and pulling some of their flair into your own presentation style.
4. Practice in front of people
Of course, the best advice to help you become a strong presenter is to practice, practice, practice. Practice alone, but most importantly practice in front of other people. Even if it’s your coworkers, your boss, your friend, or the random person you meet in an elevator, practicing your presentation skills on other humans will help you gauge their reaction to what you are saying, and adjust as needed.
5. Practice with distractions
One of the most difficult aspects of prepping for a presentation on the road is the amount of distractions you will need to deal with. But those annoying distractions can actually help you prepare if you build them into your practice work. Distractions happen even in presentations, so learning how to deal with them during your prep work will help you prepare for them when the real presentation arrives.
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