How to Quickly Prepare for a Presentation

How to give powerful presentations.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #104

My friend David spent weeks preparing for a twenty-minute presentation. He didn’t know what to prepare and it scared him silly. Today we’ll explore a simple set of questions that will make preparing fast and easy, so you’ll be done with plenty of time left over to pursue those tuba lessons you’ve dreamt of since you were twelve.

How to Quickly Prepare for a Presentation

They say the number one fear in the world is public speaking (hey!  One of my Quick and Dirty Tips buddies is an expert at that!). People are afraid the audience will laugh at them. Except for comedians, who are afraid the audience won’t laugh at them. If that’s really the world’s #1 fear, why aren’t there horror films about it? We see Freddy playing Iron Chef, with tonight’s special ingredient being innocent teenager. But we never get to see Freddy giving a speech at his local Legion of the Damned chapter meeting, only to realize halfway through that he’s actually naked. That would be scary! Bwah ha ha ha ha! (evil laugh) Don’t let this happen to you! In the immortal words of the great Tom Lehrer, Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared, be prepared.

How to Decide the Main Message of Your Presentation

Begin with the end in mind. Start preparing with a few simple questions. Who is your audience? If you’re talking to business people whose company is tanking, and who expect you to save them, that’s different from presenting to nuns, who care about your spiritual salvation and will stop at nothing to claim your soul for eternity.

What does your audience really want from you?

What does your audience really want from you? You might think this is all about you, but people don’t go to presentations to see you. They go to presentations to see Angelina Jolie, but not to see you. They care about what they can get from you. Know what that is and offer it. Your task is to know what the audience wants to get from you and use it to design your offering.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.