Two Days to Prepare: Make the Most of Your Time and Prepare to Succeed

You get an email. It asks you to present on a project you’ve been working on. The presentation is in two days.

You want to give the presentation. It will position you as a leader and an expert, and it will allow you to show that you are ready for the promotion you’ve been driving towards.

Yet, how should you prepare? How can you best use your time? You can start with the following strategies. Let’s get to it.

Start Now

I mean it. Stop reading this and work on your presentation. The sooner you start preparing and practicing, the more effective your time is spent.

Your brain does a lot of work in the background. If you put in the work practicing, your brain will work throughout the day and while you sleep.

Throughout the day, your presentation will pop into your head because your brain is practicing in the background. While you sleep, your brain organizes and reviews what you’ve worked on. But only if you did the leg work already.

Schedule your prep and practice time before the day you present, and your practice and prep will be significantly more effective.

Prioritize beginnings and endings

It is not the presentation that you give that matters; it is the presentation your audience remembers. And, audiences remember the start and the end. The scientists call this primacy, recency--the first thing and the last thing.

Which means, you will get the most bang for your buck putting your time and energy into the beginning and the ending. Bring your focus to these areas with a special attention on how you can make your message as clear as possible, so your audience can easily understand and remember it.

Get into the room

There is something about moving around in a space before it is filled with people that really helps a person prepare. Like the actor that paces the empty theater before a performance, prepare and practice your presentation AND practice being in the room. Try to imagine yourself giving your presentation.

How will you move?

What obstacles will you face?

You can even practice how you’ll make eye contact.

Smarter Presentation Practice

Smarter practice means better presentations, and these strategies will help you prepare your next presentation a little bit smarter.

If you want to add a massive dollop of smarts to your presentation rehearsal, get coached on your next presentation, or ask your company to host a workshop. Applause will help you nail your next presentation or level up your presentation skills.

And, keep an eye on your inbox for the final post in this series. The tips and tricks if you only have two hours to prepare.