5 Tips to Prepare Your Presentation

5 Tips to Prepare Your Presentation

| Tina Bakehouse


Recently, I decided to apply to speak at a networking group.

I struggled with what or how to write my ideas. My mind, cluttered with stories, ideas, examples, I had this deep desire to say and do all the things.

Yet, I only had 20 minutes to present. Twenty minutes sounds like a long time to present, but it isn’t as long as you think. Twenty minutes cruises by quickly. To fully explore three ideas, I first jotted down all that was interesting to me.

Three points with three sub-points. Clearly, I wanted to present a 1-hour keynote presentation or workshop.

I sliced and cut more content.

Back to brainstorming. I broke down the three points with two sub-points. Still too long. After four more edits, I focused on three sub-points that could be addressed in a shorter amount of time with one example.

Have you been challenged with creating a talk?

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Presentation

1. Start with the end in mind. Ask yourself: how much time do I have? The shorter the speech, the less the amount of content to create. No amount of talking faster will get you to the end of your message.

2. Choose the best time of day to brainstorm your ideas. Are you freshest in the morning? Or do you gain beautiful ideas later at night? Identify your primo time to generate ideas and block out the time to create.

3. Brainstorm on a piece of paper, handwrite your ideas without judgement. Keep writing even if you don’t feel like it. This mantra may sound like your high school or college English teacher, but it’s true. Keep writing. Just keep writing. The more you do it, the more ideas will eventually flow from your heart and out your fingers.

4. Change your setting or do something different. Newness can be inspiring. Being creative with your ideas requires shaking it up for your brain. Artist Zack Jones has moments that he doesn’t want to paint. Too tired. Lacking inspiration. Distracted. He reminded me that that’s when you can get your best ideas.

5. Edit and cut more content than you think you should. The shorter the speech or story, the more preparation required, flush out and select what’s essential, still including appropriate details and emotion. Less truly is more. Like my graduate professor said, “Don’t be married to your writing.” Let go of the fluff and choose the central ideas.