It is not easy to create a great business presentation on short notice. Presentations, as with anything else, benefit the most when you take the time and effort to craft and refine them. However, if you have to do so on short notice, here are three ideas for developing a business presentation:
Use a stock presentation, and create some extra stock presentations, to have ready for the future
If you have several basic, stock presentations available, you can use one of these the next time you need to. You can start by reusing your best presentations from the past, which you used for other purposes. However, you should customize at least some elements of the basic presentation, such as the beginning of your presentation, or the end. You should also keep track of whom you make these presentations to: once you have used a presentation for a particular audience, you should not reuse the exact same presentation without making significant changes. It is also important to avoid including time-specific references as major sections of these presentations, since these will be difficult to update quickly, and will need to be changed often. Instead, create a separate list of where current references are in each presentation, so that you can rapidly change these if you need to (see below).
Include places for adding generic, current reference examples
You should periodically update the list of current references (as you find better, or more recent examples) on all of your stock presentations. This should not take long if you use a separate event reference list, and do so on a regular basis (say, once a month or so). This will keep your presentation looking newer than it actually is, yet if there are significant changes which alter the basic content, then you should re-do the stock presentation to take these into account. Ideally, you should be able to leave the current events out of your stock presentation if you are pressed for time, but adding them can be a nice touch.
Keep track of your presentation’s feedback
Some presentations will receive better responses than others. Once you have given your presentation, find out what your audience thought of it. The highly rated presentations are the ones you will want to improve, and save to use again in the future. Presentations which are consistently poorly received can safely be discarded, once you have learned what you can from them.
In short, when you keep stock presentations on hand, along with a separate list of current examples, and track how well your presentations are received, it is more likely that you will consistently improve the quality of your presentations. Still, the more important the outcome of a particular presentation is, the more important it should be for you to prepare early.
Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays.