How to prepare for a big presentation
10 years ago, in 2008 I joined Toastmasters. My mentor at the time (the late Vic Brits) would be furious with me, if I didn’t have my speech prepared, memorized and ready-for our mentoring sessions. For him it was all the art of presentation preparation.
Last week Wednesday as I was getting ready to be the first speaker at Disrupt HR, I felt so blessed. Because I had been given the opportunity to learn from incredible mentors and speakers. Because of them, I was ready and prepared.
Disrupt HR can be quite threatening. Where normal presentations range from 45 minutes to an hour, Disrupt HR is different. The format is to speak for 5 minutes with 20 slides that rotate every 15 seconds.
What did I learn from this process?
It happens so often that we get into the PowerPoint trap of creating slides first and then speaking to them.
· Script it out:
When your time is tight and your goal is to be on point and clear-I would advise you to do the following…
Script out your entire speech, time-it, work in the pauses and from the script develop the visual aids.
· Listen to yourself:
Since the slides were only showing for 15 seconds at a time, I started sounding like a fast-moving train. So I changed strategy. I created similar slides, allowing me to speak for 1 minute, across 6 slides.
Therefore, by listening to your own voice, you are also learning your speech by hearing it and creating muscle memory in your mind-by how you sound. Practice your speech repeatedly, adapting your pace, your tone, your pitch and including pauses.
I asked myself the following questions
· Who is in the audience, and why should they hear this message?
· How do I want the audience to Think, feel and what do I want them to do?
· What dress code will best embody my personal brand?
Feedback is very important:
In most of my presentations I make use of the tool Speakerscore where you can create a unique code on your last slide of your presentation and ask the audience to rate you and give you feedback. As reward for giving you feedback they can download your handouts, white papers or research that you’ve pre-loaded for their benefit.
So, what can go wrong:
By visualizing what you want, how you want your state to be(confident, calm, assertive and friendly) for instance, you can allow muscle memory to kick in when you arrive on stage.
· What will be in my control and what is not? Should I have an adapter for my laptop, a back-up of my presentation? Will you be able to speak if the projector fails, or the audience is in a bad mood?
Napoleon Bonaparte said:
“If I always appear prepared, it is because before entering an undertaking, I have meditated long and have foreseen what might occur. It is not genius where reveals to me suddenly and secretly what I should do in circumstances unexpected by others; it is thought and preparation.”
Here was my talk at Disrupt HR.
Latest recommendation from Disrupt HR:
“Yoke, you set the bar for all of us who followed. You are an amazing speaker, passionate about your content and authentic. Besides all of that, you have an endearing personality and I guess what’s on the inside overflows outwardly. It was a pleasure to chat with you and well done on a thought provoking presentation. I will share the stage with you anytime, if you let me! –Paul Charles “CEO-Resilience Coaching International”