"How do I prepare a presentation?"

One of my favorite questions. I’ll offer up some options here.

The short answer is, it’s really whatever works for you - but make sure it’s something.

Some people like to open up PowerPoint and start creating slides, just bangin’ away on the keyboard, and they’ll pretty it up later.

Some like to grab old-school pen and paper and write down an outline, or brainstorm first.

Some like to go on a data-gathering mission first, collect all the info they need in one place, and then organize it into notes or visuals.

The key is that you must do something to prepare.

I do the first method. I dump all my ideas into PowerPoint slides, and then I print them out, stand on my feet, and say the presentation - or what I think is the presentation - out loud. I make notes on the printout as to what worked, what didn’t, and which pieces of content need to move elsewhere:

  A tiny sampling of my notes and prep for a conference presentation.

A tiny sampling of my notes and prep for a conference presentation.

It’s not elegant, and it doesn’t have to be. It works.

The mix of writing and speaking my content lets me “see” the presentation better. Speaking and writing access different parts of the brain, which allows you to notice things you may not have before.

My advice to you: For your next preparation, use a minimum of two different senses to try out or organize your material. Your final product will be better for it.