Presenting in the “Eleventh Hour”
October 26, 2017 by Bill Rosenthal

Public speaking is often a daunting task in its own right, but what happens when you have to give a presentation at the last minute? In some situations, you may only have 24-hour’s notice (or even as little as half an hour) to create and deliver a presentation. The idea of one of these situations happening to you may cause some panic, but fear not. Impromptu public speaking can be tackled head-on with the right training, practice, and by keeping a few ground rules in mind.

  1. Remember to start with three sections. – Even when you’re preparing for your eleventh-hour presentation, remember that you must still logically organize your material. The idea of the beginning, middle, and end is nothing new, so use it to write your presentation instead of panicking. Arranging what you need in order to have a successful opening, informational body section, and closing statements can help improve your overall clarity of thought.
  2. Start with something powerful. – Keep in mind that last minute presentations are not normally random, but are typically used to address somewhat urgent, specific issues. Your opening statements should demand the audience’s attention in some way. Try starting with a direct question about the topic or task at hand. After all, your audience will be there for one reason, so use it to your advantage.
  3. Stay committed to your three main points. – Regardless of the duration of your last-minute presentation, try to stay focused on your three main points. Break the points down, discuss the current position or problem, and then clarify any concerns or issues. Following this plan of providing your audience with the situation, the issues, and the solutions will help keep your presentation structured while still flowing.
  4. Use a powerful closing. – The closing statements of your presentation should be as powerful as the openers and should also reiterate your opening remarks. During your closing statements, you should check back in with your audience to ensure that all of the questions that you brought up have been answered and that your subject matter was understood. After the presentation is over, give your audience the chance to ask questions of their own to clarify any misunderstandings.

Last-minute presentations can be rather stressful, but they can also be very successful. At Communispond, we now offer Executive Presentation Skills® – Part 2 to help alumni of our original Executive Presentation Skills® program further refine their public speaking abilities. During this one-day, instructor-led program, participants will learn how to handle unexpected situations, lead discussions, and fine-tune their presentation delivery. 

Would you like to further prefect your presentation skills? Find an upcoming seminar here!