You’re going about your work day as usual when you get a message from your boss:
“Hey, can you give a presentation on [X] tomorrow? Thanks a ton!”
Or procrastination got the better of you this week, and you’ve put off an assignment for class. Regardless of the situation, we’ve all had to pull together some slides at the last second for a presentation. Here are five tips to ace that last-minute presentation:
The first thing to keep in mind when presenting, in general, is that the slideshow is your guide for talking points. They organize your information and provide any necessary visual data for the presentation, and a good presentation keeps its slide text to a minimum.
If you’ve already been given some slides to work off of, great! You have a roadmap of your major talking points all ready for you. If you’ve only been given some vague information on your presentation topic, you’ll need to work in the other direction: start by listing your major talking points and then create slides around them. Your slides should supplement the information that goes alongside each topic. Graphs and other visual aids are usually the most common form of supplemental information, but showing statistical values and important dates on your slides may be especially helpful if your audience needs to take notes.
So, if your slides are the visual part of your presentation, you’ll need notecards to guide what you’re going to say. Typical presentation note cards list important details you’ll want to mention accompanying each slide. The notecard's job is to describe the images on your slides and expand on any essential, eye-catching text. But what if you have a script written out for you?
Regardless of how you’ve gotten your notes, you don’t have to memorize every talking point on them– that’s impossible to do overnight. Instead, focus on some key details. If you’re presenting a solution to a problem, memorize a sentence about that solution. If you’re presenting quarterly data, memorize some of the goals for the next quarter. That way, you won’t have to look at your notes constantly.
With online presentations, constantly looking away from your screen while presenting is generally a bad look. One of the best ways to avoid doing so is by using a teleprompter. Newscasters have to present information at the last minute all the time, and teleprompter programs are their go-to when presenting the latest information– you can do that too. Teleprompter applications for your phone or computer, like Teleprompter, allow users to talk at their own pace while the teleprompter scrolls through your key talking points easily.
The key to pulling off a fantastic last-minute presentation is to be well-rested. You might not be 100% prepared, but that’s okay! Getting some rest and going in with a clear head and fresh nerves is much better than arriving at the scene frazzled from an all-nighter. That’s why you have your notes– however you choose to keep them.
Overexertion can also come in the form of adding too much detail to your presentation as well. If you’re working at the last minute, try to keep things minimal. Don’t worry about personal anecdotes or expounding upon last month’s savings chart. Instead, stick to your slides and the details they present. Double-check your research to ensure the information’s accuracy and stay on-topic.
A lot of what defines a successful presentation is how you present yourself. We’ve talked a lot about organizing your presentation, but not yourself. Everyone always says, “Be confident!” But how do you do that?
Your first step is to stand up straight, with both feet on the ground. No shifting from leg to leg. While you can walk around the room, keep the audience’s focus on your slides, not your body. Another way to keep attention on your presentation is to figure out what you’re going to do with your hands. It’s natural to fidget when nervous, so consider “talking with your hands” to emphasize key points in your presentation. Otherwise, do your best to keep them still.
Eye contact is another major aspect of pulling off a great presentation. It makes you look knowledgeable and prepared– that’s where the teleprompter comes in again. With the help of a teleprompter app, you don’t have to look down to see your notes, just a little to the left. This gives your audience the impression that you’re looking at them (generally), but don’t forget to single someone out every so often and make eye contact with them.
You’ve got this! Just because a presentation is last-minute doesn’t mean it can’t be a great one. Why not get a head start on your presenting skills with some help from our app? Teleprompter is the best way to keep your presentation notes close and look professional while doing so.