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How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation: A Speaking Survival Guide for the Rest of Us by T. J. Walker

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Chapter 26. Time Trap

What Are Common Time Wasters to Avoid When Preparing for My Presentation?

Giving presentations is in some ways very similar to managing your personal finances and losing lots of weight; there is a lot of bad advice out there, and anyone can have an opinion.

I've tried to gather all the advice that, if followed, would waste lots of your valuable time. The following are instructions that you will not have to follow because they are either bad advice for all presenters or bad advice for you, in particular, to meeting your goal of giving a pretty good presentation:

  • "Memorize the first minute of your presentation."

    This is tough to do and isn't worth the effort. It's a great way to create stage fright and panic.

  • "Practice your presentation while looking at yourself in a mirror."

    Another waste of time that's guaranteed to make you obsess over your crooked nose or receding hairline. The one thing you don't have to do when giving a speech is look at yourself.

  • "Visualize your audience naked."

    Terrible advice. Depending on your audience, this is either too disgusting or too distracting.

  • "Limit your PowerPoint to no more than 10 slides."

    More than 10 slides won't necessarily help you, but in the real world, people who use this artificial constraint of 10 end up cramming four slides' worth of content onto one slide; and then nobody can read it!

  • "Write out your entire speech word for word."

    There is no need to do this. Just have a simple one-page outline using bullet points.

  • "Obsess ...

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