3 Hacks to Curb Presentation Procrastination

Updated on April 15, 2019
amandacharly profile image

Amanda is a passionate business writer and mentor.She spends most of her days empowering women and taking part in community projects.

Source

Your presentation is due next week. The slides aren’t done. Your content is a mess, verbose and lacking value. And you’re thinking, "Ah, I’ll get this done in a snap, it could wait a few days...”

Two days till showtime: "This is taking longer than expected, I’ll just wing it.”

Let’s Wing It

A familiar scenario to many presenters: At times you’re simply overwhelmed with too many things and you can’t afford time to worry about the upcoming presentation in the near future. I call this phenomenon: Presentation Procrastination.

We know the adverse effects of procrastination on our productivity. How is Presentation Procrastination any different? For one, the calamitous effects of last-minute work here are compounded on stage, evident for the audience to scrutinize. When you present, you are representing yourself. A half-baked presentation reflects horribly on your credibility and professionalism. It makes you look unprepared, disorganized and possibly even lazy.

‘Winging it’ doesn’t work half the time. You can exude so much charisma that it overflows from your ears, but if you don’t genuinely know what you’re talking about or offer any value, the audience will see right through these shenanigans.

Dealing With It

Ideally, you should be prepared. Invest the time to know your stuff and get the work done properly. The truth of the matter is however, you can’t simply throw aside your commitments to go both Picasso on your slides and Ralph Waldo Emerson on your script. Something has to give. As an advocate of productive presentations, I offer some possible shortcuts you can create for yourself.

Hack # 1: Understand That It’s a Process

Acknowledge that creating a good presentation is a sum of parts, a step-by-step process, if you will. Utilizing your pockets of free time to fill these gaps will ensure you get it done fast and avoid compromising too much on quality.

You may have your own ‘system’, but following a structured process gets you to ‘done’ a lot quicker and affords you time to make the endeavour to get it close to ‘perfect’.

Hack # 2: Repurpose Past Work

Contrary to what some communication professionals suggest, you simply don’t have time in all instances to create a customized presentation for your audience from scratch.

If you’re a trainer or work in a focused department, chances are you will eventually speak about the same concept or idea again. Nothing is stopping you from using the specific graphic or transcription you’ve painstakingly created prior to create your next presentation.

Hack #3: Outsource Parts of Your Presentation

This is more of a last resort if you simply can’t spare the time. Let a professional take the load off your back by outsourcing parts of your presentation to them. For example, hire a designer if you have problems with design. Enlist the help of a copywriter if you’re stumped on content.

Notice I did not suggest extricating yourself completely from the process; you should know your presentation best. Inject your bit of originality into it. Your contribution can be in the form of furnishing the message structure or sketching designs.

Getting Your Presentations ‘DONE’

I’m quite the perfectionist, as I’m sure many of us are. In my younger days I used to love drawing animals. I’d draw the limbs, ears and head, and leave the eyes for last; I’d always mess it up. I would crush the paper and promptly dispose of the wretched creature.

When it came to designing presentations, things were not much different. I incessantly pursued the idea of perfection. I made 50-60 tiny tweaks on a slide before I was satisfied. Then again, I was never truly satisfied.

The Perfection Paradox

No doubt these acts got me noticed for good work, but it also adversely affected my delivery schedule. In three hours, all I had done were three miserable slides out of 60? I had to postpone uploads, work submissions and presentation slots.

Nothing wrong with wanting to be ‘perfect’ right? Wrong. Perfection is a myth. Things will never be perfect, at least to you. But they can be ‘good enough’ or better.

I spent hours focusing on tiny details in certain minute areas, thereby compromising on quality on the whole. When deadlines came, I simply could not deliver what I had at the time. I only had half of a workable umbrella.

Get It Done

In situations where you’re time-stretched ( or not ) weighing the opportunity cost is everything. Would you rather have a few super slides but be unable to give the presentation at all or have a full deck of an acceptable standard to give a presentation.

I’m big on how things should be fantastic, but there’s a fine line between ‘good enough’ and over doing it. I’m not encouraging you ship a half-assed product, but delaying a ‘good enough to ship’ product is just as bad. The old maxim stands true:

“Done is better than perfect.”

What Really Matters?

Bake your presentation (pardon cake pun) layer by layer. Build 'em from the ground up. If it so happens you run out of time, you’ll still be in a good position to give the presentation regardless. A speech coach friend of mine, Benjamin Loh, has this to say:

I make well sure my presentation’s structure is pristine before worrying about how it looks. If I lack the time, at least I know I’ve got the content down. I can present without the visual aids if I needed to.

It’s all about prioritizing the important bits to get it to ‘Done’ or ‘Good Enough’ before aspiring to move beyond that.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)