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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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Product/Version: PowerPoint






Creating slides is just one part of what you would do as part of your presentation. Delivering those slides will complete the process. In an earlier post, we explored a Checklist for Creating Presentations. In this post, we undertake a similar, planned checklist to deliver your slides. We have compiled a list of activities to 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 a more detailed explanation, please do get in touch with us via our feedback form.

We will look at two checklists. The first one is a pre-checklist that you will have to look at when you are creating your presentation, and preparing for the delivery. The second is the actual checklist for delivering presentations.

Pre-checklist

1. Are your slides ready?

If you are using slides to present, are they finished and ready? This is very important because many presenters edit their slides minutes before their presentations. If you, like such presenters, use all your time to create slides, you won’t have any time left to prepare anything else, or even to go through a checklist. Yes, there may be small changes, but you should have your slides ready at least a week before your presentation day.

Are your slides ready?

2. Plan how you will use your time

Do you have a fixed amount of time allotted to present? Have you practiced and made sure that you don’t use more than three-quarters of the time? For example, if your allotted time is an hour, you should be able to present all slides in 45 minutes.

Practicing your presentation alone, by yourself, is different than delivering your presentation to an audience. There’s a huge element called “interactivity” that will use some of the remaining time. This interactivity will involve how you and your audience will communicate with each other. Also, you should have spare time reserved to answer audience questions.

Plan how you will use your time

3. Where is the venue?

Do you know where you have to present? Are you presenting in your own office? Or are you presenting online? Also, is the venue in the same town or city where you are based, or do you need to travel? Have you been to the venue before? Also, how much time will it take you to get to the location? If this is a new place, plan to get there much before the presenting time.

Where is the venue?

4. Are you aware of hardware issues?

Are you aware of the any hardware requirements? Will you carry your own laptop? What sort of adapters do you need to connect your laptop to the projection system? Also, will a dedicated AV person be available to help you, if needed? If there is no dedicated AV person, will someone else be available if you run into a difficult situation? Also, do you know how to get in touch with this person if you run into a glitch? This is even more important an issue when you are presenting in a venue outside your organization. Finally, don't you need to do a test of the equipment before the actual presentation?

Are you aware of hardware issues?

If you are presenting online for a webinar, you still need to take care of hardware issues. Also, if you are presenting online with a co-host, you need to coordinate with him or her too.

5. Who is your audience?

What about your audience? What is their profile? Wouldn’t it help you if you knew their designations, age, or even if they are proficient in English or another language? How do you get this sort of information? Of course, if your presentation is being delivered within your company, it might be easier to source such information. If you are presenting elsewhere, your liaison person may be able to help. If you are delivering a webinar, you can request information from those registering through an online form.

Once you get to know how your audience is structured, you may want to make changes in both your slide content and narrative to appeal to this particular audience.

Who is your audience?


Checklist for Delivering Presentations

We asked a few people on our PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff 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? What if you stop thinking about hours and minutes, and instead, think about days or weeks before the event? Even if you do not go physically to the venue, you can still ask questions about how the audience will be seated, how far away will the projected display be, how is the room lit, etc.

Also, will the venue provide internet access? It's a good idea to not always depend upon your phone or other device for connectivity because many venues get poor transmission signals.

While you are finding out about the projector or projection system, do ask whether it supports widescreen slides in case your slides are widescreen? It makes no sense to create widescreen slides and find that your slides will be projected at standard resolution, thus making your slide expanse smaller than wider! Learn more in our Should You Create Widescreen Slides article.

Analyze the Venue and Infrastructure

2. Understand Content and Layout

To understand content, you must first 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, doing so may entail highlighting your main points, and using more visuals. This process will make your slide content better!

Next, look at the layout of your slides. I once used slides with little text and some pictures to deliver my presentation at a venue where the projector screen was smaller than expected. Since my slides were designed with minimal content, I could avert a disaster. Even then, two of my slides had screen shots from a computer program that were not very visible in the projection environment.

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

 Understand Content and Layout

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. These files include 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 equipment, if possible. 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 adaptor.
  4. If you are carrying your own remote control, test it again. Also, carry some spare batteries just in case.

Test the System

4. Always have a Backup

It's important that you carry multiple backup copies 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 itself, and save it in another folder—or in the same folder with a new name. This will be helpful if you overwrite your presentation with unintened changes.
  2. Copy the file to a USB device and take it along. Don't share this USB device with others before you deliver your presentation, as far as possible.
  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 want to be really careful, copy to more than one cloud location.
  4. You can also email yourself a copy of your file. Typically, everyone has an extra Gmail, Outlook, or another mail ID these days. Attach a copy of your presentation and send to this email account. Do note though, that some businesses may not be too happy with you mailing a work presentation to a personal email account.
  5. Carry a printed version of your slides. In extremely 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! Place your printed sheet in your hand as you walk close to your audience, or place it on a flipchart stand if your have a larger printout. Life really proceeds well, even though we may take so much for granted.

Always have a Backup

Disable Services Not Needed

Daniel Wooldridge is the Founding Pastor at Crosslife Churches in Australia, and he has some tips to share that may be useful to all presenters:

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 want: 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.

This article was first written on May 21, 2015 and was substantially rewritten and updated on August 10, 2020.


Geetesh Bajaj (Glossary Page)

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