1:18 Poolside Pres Prep

I delivered a draft presentation the other day. I had a 24 page document to condense into less than ten minutes. Thankfully for the draft run-through, I only needed to talk, not talk along to slides.

An aligned point is that I was impressed that we’d managed to gain a trial audience. As any seasoned presenter will tell you, preparation is the overwhelming key to quality delivery. The ability to have this and glean feedback is vital. Also the right panel make-up coupled with a willingness to thoroughly explain their advice is a great qualifier.

I had roughly three hours. So I sat around the hotel pool and worked out a structure.

After 2½ hours, I’d managed three successful walks around the pool, each one speaking out loud, from memory, without notes for the eight minutes my spiel would take in the Boardroom.

I wondered whether this was a typical ratio? Eight minutes speaking taking one hundred and fifty minutes of preparation to nail off pat. 8:150, or roughly 1 to 18. If it is, then for every ten minutes of pitching in front of a screen to an assembled audience, you’d need to set aside an uninterrupted three hours to fully prepare.

An additional point concerns content leakage. After a lag of just 3 hours, I conducted my run-through. As I successfully sat down after, I was aware I’d dropped a couple of bullets. I estimated these at around 15 seconds talk-time. This would suggest that my speech had not quite settled deeper than my short-term memory, a point to bear in mind if you can’t get to practice close up to your moment.

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