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Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail (Presentation Skills)

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

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Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail - presentation workshops

Last week was a full week back to what was previously normal.

Preparing Presentation Skills Workshops

Improve Your Pitching & Presentation Skills

This week I had two days preparing and two days delivering presentation skills workshops.

My Week:

Taxi to the venue, deliver the workshop, and come home exhausted, brain dead and happy to have helped a group of people be more confident when telling their story (presenting on behalf of their business).

Today I reviewed both events before following up with the client who booked me to review the outcomes and discuss the next steps/action.

The Venue:

There were the usual stressors, traffic delays in getting to the hotel venue, ancient projector that made my deck look amateurish.

On the second day, thirty minutes of stress as the projector will not work; eventually, it needed to be replaced by another inferior projector that limped along.

As a result, I used as little of my deck as possible only to be reminded that fewer slides lead to improved engagement.

Back in front of a live audience:

Being back client-facing, there is the stress of the things that can go wrong when not in the comfort of your own space.

Despite having a small travel case, with every connection and lead I might need. Spare batteries, pens for delegates (you would be surprised how many people turn up to meetings without a pen), phone and computer charger, Frog award (to be explained another day).


Finally, after getting the hotel replacement projector to work, I clicked on my presentation to open it and ensure everything looked, as best it could, on a projector that is years old and the screen that someone previously used as a whiteboard.

Nothing happened. Stress builds and builds.

Then I remembered it: I do not have a copy on an external hard drive (it’s been a long time since I presented in a venue other than in the safe environment of my office, online).

I forgot to copy my deck to a backup memory stick in case of difficulties accessing the venue’s Wi-Fi (not so unusual when presenting on a university campus or client’s premises); panic 30 minutes before the start!

I am now fifteen minutes from kicking off and have been in the room for thirty minutes, faffing about the projector when the first delegates start to arrive.

Why will the deck not open?

Through the panic, a flash of inspiration, where had I saved the presentation? In iCloud, not on my hard drive.


Quick, reconnect to Wi-Fi and there is my lovely presentation on the screen with 10 minutes to spare.

When delivering presentations externally, my rule is always to turn off Wi-Fi so that my audience is not distracted by incoming email alerts, reminders etc.

Today starts with relief; thankfully, Irish people always arrive just on time or slightly late.

Whoosh, away we go. I can look forward to a day of fun and engagement where people will grow confident when presenting and telling their stories.

Presenting to an audience is the most stressful thing you can do, no matter how experienced you are.

Why not engage a coach to help you or your team plan, prepare and significantly increase your confidence levels and success rate as well as improve your presentation & pitching skills?

Please get in touch:

Follow Andrew Keogh on LinkedIn for more presentation skills ideas.