4 Easy Steps to Preparing a Last-Minute Presentation

“David, we have an overseas delegate coming in tomorrow, and I need you to present to him our company’s profile, values, and mission. He will be meeting us at 9:30 am tomorrow.”

So, you have a last-minute presentation to do, and you only have one day to prepare.

Sounds daunting.

So, you have a last-minute presentation to do, and you only have one day to prepare. Sounds daunting.

Last-Minute Presentation
Handling Last-Minute Presentation – How do you do it?

Actually, not quite. I am going to share with you a few techniques on how you can handle the situation.

If your boss has asked you to give a last-minute presentation, that is because he knows you are good in your expertise area. Hence, skills and knowledge shouldn’t be a worrisome factor. All you need to do is to follow these steps:

Step 1: 

Ask open-ended questions. Here are some examples:

Who am I presenting to?

What am I presenting? 

How (the method) am I going to present?

When will the presentation take place?

Where will be the presentation take place?

Why are you presenting the information?

What do you think the audience wants for me?

How much time do I have to present?

Who will be presenting along with me?

Step 2:

Once you have answered all these questions, you can ascertain how many slides you need to prepare based on the given presentation timeframe.

“In the early 1980s, researchers found that people suffer from “cognitive backlog.” Simply put, information acts like weights–the more you pile on, the more likely you are to drop everything. A 5-minute lecture produces a relatively small amount of cognitive backlog, while a 30-minute lecture produces a relatively large amount of cognitive backlog.” 

Source: Neuroscience Proves You Should Follow TED’s 18-Minute Rule to Win Your Pitch.

Hence, it would be helpful if you observe the “18-Minute” Rule.  

Depending on how much time is allocated to you for the presentation, here are some rules of thumb that you might want to follow:

Use the number of presentation time allocated, divide by the number of slides you have, and that will be the time you have to present each slide.  

For example:

Duration of Presentation: 10 Mins

Number of Slides: 10

Therefore, the time you have to present each slide is 1 min.


Duration is 20 mins

One point per slides – 3 mins

You will have to limit your slides to 7 slides maximum.

Bear in mind; you have included time for opening and closing addresses.

When preparing for the main points, consider that you need to include at least 2 supporting illustrations, such as case studies and statistics.

Step 3:

Once you have determined the number of slides and the presentation duration, it is time to plan your content.

Take, for example:

If your presentation is 20 mins – 7 slides, including opening and closing addresses:

Slide 1 – Opening / Introduction (1 min)

Slide 2 – Overview (1 min)

Slide 3 – Point 1 + 2 supporting illustration (3 mins)

Slide 4 – Point 2 + 2 supporting illustration (3 mins)

“small break” – ask a question (3 mins)

Slide 5 – Point 3 + 2 supporting illustration (3 mins)

Slide 6 – Point 4 + 2 supporting illustration (3 mins)

Slide 7 – closing (1 min) + Q&A (2 min)

Total: 18 mins (without Q&A) / 20 mins with (Q&A)

If you plan it this way, you will have better control of the presentation and don’t have to worry you will overrun or underrun the time. This will also help you to pace your presentation throughout the duration.

Step 4:

Once you have prepared the number of slides and the contents, it is time to practice visualization. What do you visualize?

The attendee

The venue

The audience

The presentation flow

Your speech 

The facial expression of the audience

As our thoughts shape our reality, visualize the situation as real as possible. There are several benefits to using visualization as part of your presentation preparation:

Boost confidence

Dispel negative association thoughts

Improve the ability to focus

Ability to keep yourself motivated 

Enable you to come up with new and creative ideas

Preparing for the unexpected

The Art of Visualization – A Skill to Preparing Your Last-Minute Presentation

In Conclusion

Preparing a last-minute presentation is not as scary as you think. It is advisable that you practice the above 4 steps regularly and not just do it last minute. Once you get the momentum going, I will assure you that it will no longer be a daunting experience.

Best of luck!

In my coming blogs, I will cover more voice and presentation tips and techniques.

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Have you tied the above steps yet?

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