For some people, knowing what you are going to stand up and talk about is easy. You might have a very specific business niche that people need to understand. For others it might be that your business covers such a wide scope of services that you can be indecisive about what’s important to your listeners.
In both cases, if you get up and present more frequently than not, you can find yourself challenging yourself with the question, “What shall I make my next talk about?”.
I found myself in that position last week. I wasn’t supposed to present today, but my second ‘Guest Presenter’ pulled out and I had to quickly pull something new together with less than 24 hours notice. I had only presented three meetings ago so was wracking my brain for something different to talk about. Fortunately I had attended a seminar on ‘Storytelling In Business’.
I had made extensive notes during the seminar and was planning on creating a killer presentation in about 6 months time… once I had opportunity to work out what my conclusion would be. (Book on our course if you want to know the importance of a Conclusion!) Unfortunately I only had 6 days since the seminar and 24 hours to prepare.
I ran out of time to practice but felt that if I talk quick enough I could cram it all in… but it had massively over stuff my presentation with slides. I had too much in there. I started my 10 minutes, only realising 8 minutes in that I had a solid 20 minutes of talking left to go. I had not given myself the correct preparation time and done all the checks I needed to fix any problems.
I was furious with myself afterwards.
So, what is the conclusion to this little blog?
Well, it’s a good example of what can happen when you fail to prepare properly. Benjamin Franklin was born today (17th January) and it he whom uttered those immortal words:
“Fail to prepare, Prepare to Fail”
It also goes to show that no matter how experienced you are, you still have to put in the due diligence into each and every presentation. The notion of just being able to ‘wing it’ or ‘being a natural’ is misguided and will expose your weaknesses.
So, I’m off to hone and refine. Then I’m going to time myself again, so that next time I’m perfect… well, as perfect as I can get it.