Clear Comm Consulting

“I have to do a presentation … and I have no time to prepare!”

Jul 28, 2011

Does that sound like you? The Boss says you need to speak tomorrow and you’re totally booked between now and then. Or a team member can’t be there and you suddenly have to fill in for them. Or you want to be the “go to” person at work but you already have over-committed on other things. Whatever the situation you probably know the feeling. “How can I ever get this right if I don’t have time to prepare?”

If you are a regular reader of the Monthly Memo you know I try to ride to the rescue in these situations and I’ll give it a go on this one. Let’s see how I do.

Keep it simple: A short timeframe and limited prep opportunity should mean no one is expecting you to deliver a huge production. (I just visited one of my favorite places — the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Gettysburg Address is on one wall and, once again, I was blown away by the succinct clarity of that extremely powerful speech. President Lincoln knew how to keep it simple.)

Start now: Just take 5 minutes and a 3 x 5 card and jot down a few notes on the major points you need to make. Keep it in your purse or jacket pocket over the next 24 hours to remind you, but don’t expand it to a big legal pad or electronic device. This trick will force you to keep it focused!

Sleep on it: Research has shown that if we can turn ideas over in our heads while we sleep the finished product can come out with more clarity. No time to prep? Let your brain work on this one while you sleep!

Use Power Point to cheat: This is a two-step process. Have someone (like a son or daughter) assemble a simple Power Point presentation based on your 3 x 5 card notes. Next, use the Power Point to remind you what you are talking about when you stand up to speak with no preparation! Don’t read the slides word-for-word; just use them to jog your memory.

We are all being asked to do more in less time. Use these tips to help solve this dilemma and let me know how it works for you. I hope you are having a great summer — see you next month.

Cary loves cool weather speaking opportunities! As the Scottsdale heat hovers around 110 degrees this is always a good time to book Cary to speak to your group in — let’s say — San Diego? San Francisco? Vancouver?

Special cool weather discounts are available if you act quickly! Drop a note to [email protected]

Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting,, a Phoenix, AZ-based communications consulting firm which is helping people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: [email protected]

Follow along with Cary on Twitter @CaryPfeffer

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