You’ve got a huge presentation to deliver an hour after you land.
Your client, leadership team, regional executives or fellow industry experts expect you to be good, but you had no time to fully prepare the whole presentation because it was chaos back at the office and there are still 292 unread emails sitting in your Inbox.
Now you have anywhere from one to 15 hours on a plane without interruption (except from the boring guy next to you with halitosis who wants to sell you something).
Here are five ways you can maximise your time to be able to present like a star the minute you reach your destination.
1. Edit like a film director
I can’t see your presentation from the AusBT website, but I’ll bet it has too much information.
Consider this: filmmakers typically cut from 8-10 hours of footage to get the final 2 hour edit you see at the cinema.
Ask yourself one question: “Why am I showing them this?”
If you don’t have an 8/10 reason, get rid of it. It will distil the focus to the content your audience really wants and keeps them engaged.
2. Stop wasting time on the graphics, fonts, fly-ins, fades and frippery
I know you’re a bit bored, the movie has finished and there’s still a way to go, but it’s unproductive to muck around with the graphics.
Choose a template, sans serif font (easier on the eye), blue-ish background and something like a 24-point minimum font size. That took three minutes. Search your hard drive for suitable images and you’re done.
Remember that 10% of your audience is colour blind and 30-40% have some sort of vision problem requiring contact lenses or glasses, so make it really easy to see.
If you see a slide that requires an intro like “This is a bit hard to read so I’ll take you through it…” hit ‘delete slide’.
3. Deliver it out loud
Okay… some of you are going to baulk at this for fear of social embarrassment, but let’s look at the options and why it’s important.
Often the first time the words come out of your mouth is when you’re live in front of an audience. Links and key points of your presentation are fluffed because you didn’t rehearse.
If you’re in business class you should be able to stand freely, find a spare metre and deliver your presentation out loud (an airplane's own lounge anea can be good for this).
The person in 2B will look at you for a second and then go back to their music or 525-page book on Leadership. Get over it.
If you can rehearse your presentation out loud knowing where the pauses, highlights and key stories are, you will be streets ahead in confidence by the time you get there.
If you’re traveling with a colleague, ask them to listen to the presentation. Don’t discuss it, defend it or justify why you’ve put the numbers in first... just deliver it. Get feedback. Review.
4. Watch it back from the audience’s perspective
Consider all members of the audience – key players, influencers, sceptics, hangers-on.
Now, take your presenter hat off and watch the presentation back from each audience member’s perspective.
Is there something compelling in your ‘movie’ for each of them? If not, weight the presentation differently so that everyone is included and engaged.
5. Your physical preparation
If you are literally about to disembark and present, you need to warm up, just like you would for sport.
You may not have spoken much on the plane, or may have dozed off. Warm up your voice by humming (stick the headphones on if you’re still worried about the guy next to you).
Don’t drink chilled water or fizzy drinks because it constricts vocal chords and causes hiccups. Choose room temperature water, tea or black coffee and give the booze a miss.
When you rehearse, the audience will love and respect you for it and that’s the result you want.
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