When you run a business, opportunities can spring up unexpectedly — and you have to be ready to jump. A last-minute chance to pitch a new prospective client or to speak at a conference can give your business a major boost. But how can you make sure you’re ready to rock it?
First, don’t panic. Last-minute presentations can sometimes end up being the best because you’re forced to think creatively and improvise. Here are a few tips for putting together a presentation in a few hours or less:
1. Have your presentation supplies ready to go
Always keep your basic presentation materials, such as any essential paper handouts, company brochures and business cards, on hand, so you’re not frantically trying to get them when you should be preparing and polishing your message. This helps ensure you’re ready to make a great impression.
2. Pre-organize key data and information
You’ll want to tailor each presentation to your unique audience. But certain components—such as background information on your company and key statistics—can be compiled and printed in advance so you can simply drop them into your handouts. Keep these preprinted materials in an easy-to-find place, so you don’t have to scrounge as you’re preparing packets of information.
3. Plan your printing and product supplier
Have a one-stop shop in mind that can do same-day printing of any presentation materials and where you can shop for any supplies you might need, whether that’s paper clips, binders or business cards. Having a go-to retailer that can provide you a robust selection of services and products will make the presentation preparation go faster and smoother.
4. Have imagery ready
Visuals are essential to a winning presentation. Make sure you have a source for these, such as an online stock photo account.
5. Practice your presentation skills
Having your presentation materials ready is a must. But at the end of the day, your audience will care just as much about how you present yourself. People love to hear personal narratives — so think in advance about stories you can share during presentations that will engage or entertain your audience. Also consider key takeaways and messaging of your presentations, so you leave your audience with a clear understanding. Write your presentation ideas down so you can easily review them for the next time you need them. (Business Insider offers 10 tips for mentally preparing for a presentation.)
Putting together a last-minute presentation doesn’t have to be a frazzling, stress-inducing experience. By assuming opportunities will spring up with little notice and being ready for them, you can rock any presentation you give.
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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