7 Steps to Prepare a Presentation When Crunched for Time
"I was just given an assignment to present at a community meeting, but I have very little time to prepare. What should I do?"
This question was asked by one of my students, and it brings up a communication dilemma – how do you put together a presentation when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare? This task can baffle the best of us. But there’s no need to panic. Here are some suggestions to put together a presentation quickly:
1. Think about your audience.
Who are they? How much do they already know about your topic? What more do they want to know? If you address the needs and concerns of the people in your audience, they are more likely to listen to you.
2. Define your objective and the key points quickly.
You don’t have time to waste. People often spend too much of what little time they have agonizing over these items. Make a decision and get started. You can now focus on what you want to convey to the audience. (Additional information on structuring your presentation can be found in my new book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes.
3. Consider whether you have any stories to support your key points.
Stories bring your presentation to life. Keep them succinct and to the point. Your audience will remember the story, and as a result, they’ll also remember the message in your presentation.
4. Practice out loud.
Have at least one practice. You want to hear how the presentation sounds.
5. Pay attention to your delivery.
You want to appear confident and credible – even if you are uncomfortable. Use good posture, and look at people in the audience. Don’t sway. Avoid nervous fiddling, such as playing with a pen or rubber band. Dress slightly better than your audience, and speak loudly enough to be heard.
6. Don’t discount yourself.
Avoid comments that belittle you or your talk. These include such statements as, “I hope I don’t bore you; I didn’t have a lot of time to put this together…” or “I know you didn’t come here just to hear me.”
7. Anticipate the questions.
Once the presentation is together, spend just a couple of minutes thinking about the questions that you may be asked. Decide how you will respond to them. If you do, you are less likely to be caught off guard.
There is a lot more you can – and should – do to prepare for a presentation, but these quick tips will help you prepare an effective presentation when time is short.
Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…
I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement.
In short -- and I think I’m pretty typical – I was looking for financial advice, as it relates to my life.
Here’s the disconnect, what most advisors do is simply manage their clients’ assets. They determine what to buy, and what to sell, they think about risk management, about growing their practice by finding new clients and about getting paid.
Historically that has been the business model. But as more women take control over financial assets, they, like me, will be looking for a different experience. And unless the financial community is willing to change ….. advisors, as they are today will be extinct in five years.
Advisors who want to survive will have to do a lot more than just manage money – they will have to provide genuine “advice”. That means doing what’s right for the client, not pushing product and pretending it’s advice.
Women especially, but all investors generally, are becoming more and more cynical. They says, “If I want advice about reducing my debt, that’s what I want and not ‘here’s more debt’ because that’s what my advisor gets paid for! And if saving taxes is what I want then saving taxes should take precedent over selling me a product.”
You may be thinking that spending your time providing advice isn’t lucrative but the reality is that in the long run – it pays off in spades. The advisors who take the time to build real relationships with clients, who provide advice as it relates to their clients’ lives, even when there is no immediate financial benefit to themselves, those who don’t simply push product – are the ones who over time have the most successful practices.
Generally women understand and value service, but they will say, “If I’m paying, I want to know what I’m paying for: Is it for returns? Is it for advice? Is it for administration? I want to know. Then I can make up my mind what’s worth it and what isn’t.”
Investing is becoming a commoditized business and technology is replacing research that no one else can find. Today the average advisor is hard pressed to consistently beat the markets, and with women emerging as the client of the future, unless they start providing real advice, their jobs will likely be extinct in five years.
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