Preparation is the single most important part of giving a successful presentation. It is absolutely critical and you should devote as much time to it as possible. Adequate preparation will ensure you deliver a carefully planned and well-organized message and you communicate it clearly to your audience. Although preparation is key, you want to be careful not to over-prepare in a way that will cause all of your hard work to backfire. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to avoid overpreparation.
Don’t Memorize Your Presentation
While it is certainly important to spend time practicing and rehearsing, it doesn’t mean that you have to memorize your presentation word for word. In fact, if you memorize your presentation there’s a good chance it will sound like it. You want to know your material forwards and backward, but you also want to make sure your presentation flows naturally so it doesn’t sound like you are reading directly from a script.
Don’t Forget to Move Around
Oftentimes presenters spend so much time preparing what they are going to say that they forget all about body language and movement. If you are so intent on reciting every word for memory, you will forget about moving around the stage and using natural body gestures. This can make you appear stiff and nervous. Remember that audiences are more likely to engage with an animated speaker.
Again, you can only prepare your presentation so much before it loses its authenticity. Purposely leave some room to expand on certain points and ad-lib where necessary. The use of improv during a presentation will make you seem more relatable and personable and it will draw your audience in and allow you to connect with them on a deeper level. You don’t want to over-prepare to the point that you are no longer yourself.