Organize to simplify presentation preparation

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With a little organizing, you can decrease the amount of time you spend creating your presentations. You’ll have more time to practice and polish your speech if you follow these tips:

  1. Set up content folders. Whether you use a paper or electronic filing system, label folders in subject areas, such as “Statistics,” “Articles,” “Anecdotes,” “Jokes” and “Case studies.” As you come across interesting material, store it in your folders with a note on how you could use it. If you store the material electronically, you’ll be able to do a keyword search of the folders to easily find content to integrate into your presentation or speech.
  2. Create a consistent labeling system for notes, slides and handouts stored on your computer. Include the subject and the date of the presentation. That way, you’ll be able to distinguish between similar topics presented at different times. Examples: “Presentation Notes_Donaldson Project _01-13-2012” “Slides_Go Green Campaign_12-19-11” and “Handout_N. Wallace Retirement Speech_02-02-12.”
  3. Organize equipment. Keep flash drives, pointers and dry-erase markers in a briefcase or bag. Always put those items back in the same container when you are finished with them, and store the container in the same place. You won’t forget equipment if it is always packed. Tip: Develop a checklist of items you need for presentations. Cross off each item as you pack your bag or briefcase. After you deliver a speech, return to the office and file background materials and handouts and replenish supplies. That ensures that you’ll be ready for your next presentation, and you won’t have to carve out time later to file and organize.

— Adapted from “Raiders of the Lost Project,” Ducks-in-a-Row LLC, http://www.ducks-in-a-row.com.

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