Checklist for Before and After a Presentation

October 25, 2017 - SOPHIE THOMPSON

Before you give a presentation, you might want to work through this checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Purpose of the presentation

  • What is the purpose of your presentation?
  • What is the end goal?
  • What would you consider a successful outcome?

Presentation preparation

  • Check how long your presentation slot is
  • Check that your presentation doesn’t overrun on time
  • Rehearse your presentation to friends or colleagues
  • Rehearse your presentation using virtual reality to reduce nerves
  • Prepare speaker notes or cue cards
  • Think about where to breathe and pause
  • Number your notes in case you drop them
  • Ensure your introduction explains your objectives and grabs the audiences’ attention
  • Clearly define the points of the presentation
  • Check the main points are in logical order and flow well
  • The conclusion should be clear, concise and tie with the introduction
  • Make sure you are knowledgeable about the topic you are presenting

Presentation slides

  • Keep slide designs simple and concise - use minimal text and high quality pictures
  • Make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors on the presentation slides
  • Check and facts you display and make sure you can back them up
  • If appropriate, post slides to the web, include URL at end of talk
  • Saved your presentation onto two different formats (USB, cloud storage, etc.)
  • Confirmed that the audio-visual equipment you require will be in the room

Visual aids and handouts

  • Check the visual aids are easy to read and understand
  • Make sure they tie into the points you are trying to communicate
  • Ensure they can be easily seen from all areas of the room
  • Prepare any handouts you want to give out and proof read them
  • Make sure you have sufficient handouts
  • Double check the visual aids are working (especially if it’s a demo)

Audience analysis

  • Think about who will be in the audience
  • Determine if there will be decision makers
  • Think about their knowledge of the topic
  • Think about if their native language is the same language as the presentation
  • Check if the organiser can provide a rough demographic

Audience questions

  • Think about possible questions you will be asked and have spare slides to address them
  • Decide how long you will leave for questions at the end
  • Decide if you want to specify areas you are willing to answer questions on

Other speakers at the event

  • Found out who else will be speaking and what they will be speaking about
  • Check if other speaker topics are related to yours
  • Check if someone else will introduce you or if you need to do it yourself
  • Determine whether you will be presenting alone or as part of a group

Location and type of event

  • Check the floor, room and location of the event
  • Find a contact persons email or number in case you are running late
  • Get directions to the venue, including parking vouchers if required
  • Try to find last year’s programs to determine the style of the event
  • Check if there are reviews of the event on blogs or social media
  • Check the type of event - is it an industry event where you’re expected to address professionals? Is it a seminar for aspiring leaders looking for inspiration and motivation?
  • Check the style of presenting you’ll be doing (indoors, outdoors, standing, sitting, etc.)
  • Understand the size and layout of the room you will be presenting in

Your appearance

  • Make sure you are dressed and groomed appropriately and aligned with the audience's expectations
  • First impressions are very important for credibility, maintain a polished and professional look
  • Practice your speech paying close attention to your body language and posture, both of which will be assessed by the audience
  • Decided what to wear the day before
  • As a rule of thumb, dress slightly better than your audience members

On the morning of the event

  • Eat a good breakfast to give you energy on stage
  • Get some light exercise in
  • Check your laptop is charged
  • Check you have your slides ready on your laptop
  • Avoid unnecessary stress by getting to the venue early

Bring with you to the event

  • Bottle of water in case your throat goes dry
  • Your laptop and any necessary cables
  • Backup slides on a USB or hard drive
  • A remote to control your slides if required
  • Extension cord if required
  • Any physical demo, handouts, or other visual aids if required
  • Your presentation notes or cue cards

At the event

  • Register and let the organiser know you’ve arrived
  • Find your room and watch another speaker present
  • If time allows, mingle and meet people who might be in your audience
  • Return to room before the speaker before you finishes, maximising your time to set up
  • Get your laptop hooked up to projector immediately - most problems occur here
  • Test your slides and any videos
  • Walk around on stage and get comfortable with the room
  • Run through the first couple of minutes of your presentation
  • Make sure you have a glass or bottle of water with you
  • Sit in the back row and make sure your text is readable
  • If you're nervous, distract yourself by going for a walk
  • Turn your mobile on silent

After the event

  • Make yourself visible so people can find you to ask questions about your talk
  • Write questions from attendees on their business cards so you can answer in email later
  • Post slides online or to SlideShare if appropriate
  • Email people who gave you their cards, answering their questions
  • Thank the organiser and ask for any feedback
  • If your talk was filmed, ask for a copy so you can learn from it