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Checklist for Delivering Presentations

Make sure that these prerequisites are in place before you deliver your presentation.


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Creating slides is just part of what you would do as part of a presentation -- delivering those slides is what will make the process complete. In the same way that you need to plan how you will create slides, you must undertake a similar plan to deliver your slides. On this page, we have compiled a list of activities you should do before delivering your slides -- let's call this a presentation delivery checklist. If you discover a new item that needs to be on this list, or something that needs more detail, please do get in touch with us via our feedback form.

Before you proceed with your checklist, there are some things you should think about:

  1. Are your slides ready?
  2. Do you have a fixed amount of time allotted to present? Have you practiced and made sure that you don’t use more than 75% of the time? For example, if your time slot is 1 hour, you should be able to present in 45 minutes. Why? That’s because presenting while practicing alone is different than presenting in front of the audience. There’s a huge element called “interactivity” that will use some of the remaining time. This interactivity will involve how you communicate with your audience and how they do the same with you. Also you must have time to answer audience questions.
  3. Do you know where you have to present? Have you been to the venue before? Are you aware of the hardware requirements? Will you carry your own laptop? Do you need to test a while before the actual presentation?
  4. What about the audience? What is their profile? If you are using an existing presentation, do you need to make any changes to your slides for this particular audience?
  5. Also do you know whom to get in touch with if you run into a glitch? This is even more important an issue when you are presenting in a venue outside your organization.

We asked a few people on our LinkedIn group about what they thought was important to consider before delivering an important presentation – here are some thoughts:

Checklist

  1. Analyze the Venue and Infrastructure: The first thing to ponder about is whether you will have access to the venue before the actual presentation? And if you will, how many hours or minutes before the event will that be? And if we stop thinking about hours and minutes – and think about days or weeks – then even if you do not physically go to the venue, you can ask questions about how the audience will be seated?

    Also will the venue provide internet access, just in case you need it.

    You can also find out more about the projector or projection system – whether it supports widescreen slides in case your slides are widescreen? It makes no sense to create widescreen slides and then realize later that your slides will be projected at standard resolution, thus making your slides in fact smaller than wider! Learn more about this issue in our Should You Create Widescreen Slides article.
  2. Understand the Content and Layout: To understand the content, you will first have to understand your audience. Try to get as much information about your audience as possible. If knowing your audience is not possible, then you will have to create slide content in a way that it should work for any audience possible! And that means to highlight just your main points, and use more visuals – which in turn will actually make your slide content better!

    Next you have to look at the layout of your slides. I once used typical slides that had little text and some pictures in a venue where the projector screen was smaller than something I had ever seen. Because my slides were designed with minimal content, I could avert a disaster – but even then two of my slides had screen shots from a computer program that were not readable in the projection environment I ended up with.

    This means you have to be prepared for any projection scenario – and you can only do that if you design your slide content and layout with a minimalist style.

  3. Test the System: If your presentation was created on a system different than where it is going to be delivered, or even if you are using the same system – make sure that you test your presentation slides.

    A few things to test:

    1. Make sure that all linked files are working – this includes media files and other files such as Excel sheets or PDFs that you are linking to.

    2. If your presentation needs sound, make sure that the venue has sound enabled. If not, carry your own speakers – do not depend upon your laptop’s sound output!

    3. Make sure that you carry your laptop’s power cable. If the power cable has a proprietary plug, and that’s fairly common if you are presenting in a foreign country – then make sure you carry an adapter.

    4. If you are carrying your own remote control, test it again – and also carry some spare batteries just in case.

  4. Always have a backup: It’s important that you carry multiple backups of your presentation – if you are paranoid, you can follow all these options – otherwise make sure that you use at least 3 of these 5 options:

    1. Make a backup copy within your computer and save it in another folder – or in the same folder with a new name.

    2. Copy the file to a thumb drive and take it along.

    3. Also save a copy of the file on a shared cloud location such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Apple iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc. If you are really paranoid, copy to more than one cloud location.

    4. You can also email yourself a copy of your file – typically everyone has Gmail, Microsoft, or Yahoo mail IDs these days – attach a copy of your presentation and send to all email accounts.

    5. Carry a printed version of your slides. In rare cases, when you are left without a projection system and a laptop, you can go analog and proceed professionally as if nothing has happened! Life goes on in spite of everything we may take for granted.

Daniel WooldridgeI use a free program called Game Booster that shuts down all programs and services that I don't need or want while I'm doing a live presentation . Don't be put off that it was designed for PC gamers - dedicated gamers want the same thing that we what a pure fast system that is not wasting resources on anything except exactly what we want it to do at the time.

I don't want Windows trying to update itself or an automatic backup program to kick in or someone try and contact me through Skype or Facebook or any other such thing - I completely shut down my Internet connection and because I use a wired connection to my multimedia projector. I turn off my LAN card.

I must admit that I'm blessed and don't have people using mobile devices or trying to multitask while I'm doing a presentation, I certainly appreciate the respect that I'm given in this matter.

I do all of this with free software and mostly reset everything by simply rebooting the system after I finished. I use an SSD system so it reboots very quickly. I used to use the program to reset everything but I don't any more I just reboot I used to have a checklist and do everything bit by bit but I find this approach much easier.

Daniel Wooldridge
Founding Pastor at Crosslife Churches

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