When the question "Did you rehearse your presentation?" is asked in a training situation, a common response is, "I didn't have time." Usually, this is followed by a long list of tasks, travel, and obligations that stood between the speaker and their presentation prep. But what if you REALLY don't have time? As in, "I need you to speak at this meeting in 20 minutes."
In today's presentation skills training "What If..." Kerri Garbis has suggestions for preparation, even if you've only got five minutes.
What if...you don’t have time to prepare?
Answer from Kerri: Let me ease your mind about something – there’s always a little time to prepare, even if it’s just five minutes. If you’ve got only moments before you have to deliver, and can’t go through an entire Rehearsal Process (you can learn more about that HERE) make sure that you at least speak through your Introduction and Conclusion on your feet. Try and build a little comfort with the opening and closing moments of your presentation. You’ll feel more confident, and you’ll start off on the right foot – which will buy you some goodwill should you have some troubles in the middle. Start and finish strong, and your audience will forgive some mid-presentation bobbles.
What if you don’t even have five minutes? What if this has just been dumped in your lap and you’re being pushed out on stage? Make this your mantra – breathe and slow down. Take a deep breath when you step up to the microphone, and fight the urge to rush through your content. (I’m assuming you’ll have notes of some kind – at least I hope so!) Pause when you need to collect your thoughts – you’ll look far stronger than if you’re just rambling away from nerves. Slow and steady will give your mind some time to process what’s just been thrown at you.