Presentation Skills [Series] Part 1 : Preparation is Key

Delivering a powerful presentation leaves a long-lasting impression on the audience’s mind. Wildly popular author, David Beckett, researched and put together the 3 Minute Presentation.

By definition you should be able to say what is needed in a presentation within a 3-minute period. Very similar to a tweet or your elevator pitch.

By harnessing this powerful skill you can make a huge impact on the audience that you’re addressing.

We’ve chosen this as our topic for the next series and will be highlighting extracts from the book. You can purchase the book online – it’s well worth a read!

1. Preparing your platform

David Beckett uses Sir Alex Ferguson, the successful football manager, as a prime example when it comes to preparation. Sir Alex took the Manchester United team to Spain for crucial matches. Obviously during this time he didn’t expect the team to just arrive and start playing. They had to prepare for these matches.

Not only were the players physically fit and got enough practice in prior to travelling to Spain, Sir Alex also did his research on the opposition’s tactics, what the turf looked like, how long it would take to travel to and from the stadium.

He prepared his team for every eventuality to ensure that they come out as winners.

Presentation preparation follows a similar trend. It’s not only going over your notes a couple of times, but also understanding what you want to convey as you stand in front of your audience. It’s all about building a platform to present with confidence and get the right message across.

2. How much time should you spend on preparation?

Let’s take a look at a story that involves Pablo Picasso. One day he was stopped by a fan at the airport who requested a sketch from him on her handkerchief. After obliging he stated that she pay him $10,000.00. She was rather taken aback.

She said to Picasso how is that possible as it only took him 30 seconds to draw. His response was the following : “Thirty seconds, madam, and a lifetime.”

Your moment in the spotlight is a summation of your preparation. Your delivery will only be as good as the amount of effort and time that you put into preparing your presentation.

One theory says that you for every minute that you present you should spend one hour preparing.

3. Start with your preparation well in advance

You will know least a few days in advance, that you are due to make a presentation.

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t let life get in the way.

Have faith in the basic principle of time management, as said by business coach, Brian Tracy: “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the important things.”

Should you acknowledge that by doing this particular presentation it will have a positive impact on your life then why not make preparation thereof a priority?

Start jotting down ideas the moment you know when the presentation has been booked for. Allowing ideas to simmer takes time. Put together a preparation schedule so that you can manage your time better.

Your take-away this week:

  1. Be sure to prioritize presentation preparation. Make it part of your daily routine whilst applicable.
  2. Jot down ideas from the get-go, allowing your subconscious to start brewing and formulating concepts.
  3. Schedule times to ‘present’ your preparation work so that you avoid presenting cold.

Stay tuned for next week’s installation of this exciting new series!

[All credit goes to David Beckett]