Creative Toolkit

Presentation Prep Sheet

A few minutes of prep will make you a star.

Are you slated to present at the next team meeting, business review, or industry conference? Maybe you have a sales opportunity or new client pitch. What’s your first step?

Please, for the love of all things interesting, don’t say “open PowerPoint.” 

Maybe you will need slides. But presentations begin well before a screen lights up. A few minutes of strategic planning will save you time and energy in the long run. Promise. Use this prep sheet.

Download:

Presentation Prep Sheet

It’s all in the details.

Goal

We like to start with the end in mind. What is your goal for the meeting? What do you hope/need to walk out with? Be specific. Is there an action the audience should take? Do you need the “go ahead” for a project? Once you know your ultimate goal, then it’s easy to go back to the beginning and map out your plan.

Image/Emotion

By now you know how vital it is to use an image that will evoke the right emotion in your audience. That might be a sense of urgency, excitement, or curiosity. Find the perfect metaphor to use so you can attach the images and emotions you want them to feel at the start of your presentation, and especially at the end.

Call to Action

If you’re not asking me to do something, then why am I here? 

The action may be as simple as to think in a new way or consider a new idea. Even better is some sort of physical action, like filling out a form or scheduling a meeting. Go ahead and ask/tell your audience to take a specific action. Is this an action to take now…or later? If later, be sure to give a deadline.

Room Setup

The physical or virtual setup can make or break a presentation. This is an opportunity to make a strong impression, build camaraderie, or impress.

Will everyone be seated around the same table, or will there be rows of chairs in front of a stage? If virtual, will individuals have their own computers or will they be together in a conference room with a large screen?

Don’t forget to plan for any logistical or technical needs. Make sure you arrive early to test equipment and software connections.

Story Setup

How will you set the stage for this experience? Will you greet people as they enter the room, shake hands with those who are already seated? Do you want to introduce yourself to individuals or wait until you have the attention of the whole room? First impressions matter so use this time to set up the environment to best support the story and your goals.

Follow-Up

You did it! You nailed the presentation, got a round of applause, shook hands with folks as they were leaving the room. Now what? If you promised some sort of follow-up, then make sure you do it. If you haven’t planned on communication post-presentation, reconsider. If you are hoping to build stronger relationships, then every interaction is important.