Dust Off & Deliver an Old Presentation

What do you do when you have to deliver an old presentation? You can’t just wing it and hope you remember it, you have to prepare your presentation again.

web_offer_banner_3_contentmarketingNext week my husband is presenting a presentation he did back in January and he asked me what is the best way to deliver an old presentation. I told him to prepare for the presentation like he normally prepares for a new presentation starting with his outline.

This time his preparations will be expedited because he does not have to redo many of the steps. He already did the right steps to prepare his presentation the first time: creating a thesis, brainstorming ideas, narrowing down the topic, creating an outline, developing his visual aid, and practicing his presentation until he was comfortable with it.

His challenge was the natural evolution a presentation takes as you go through preparation steps; the presentation evolved from the outline to the final delivery so his reviewing just his outline wasn’t enough. So I simply told him to update his outline, but make sure he doesn’t try to copy his last presentation exactly word-for-word.

Trying to emulate the presentation he delivered in January will be nearly impossible and would add much undue stress. Additionally, if he repeats his original presentation, it will sound canned or robotic. I always tell my clients how they practice their presentation is one kind of awesome and how they deliver the actual presentation is a different kind of awesome. In this case, the first presentation was awesome (it was, he got lots of great feedback and the surveys came back strong) and his encore presentation next week will be a different kind of awesome.

Another reason you don’t want to repeat your presentation verbatim is that your audience is different the second time around. In my husband’s case, his initial presentation was a keynote address, on stage, to a room of 250-300 people and next week he is presenting to a few dozen people in a smaller room with no visual aid. Although the professions and general demographics of the audience will be similar, the vibe of the presentation will vary because of the change in venue and audience size.

Another key to preparing to deliver an old presentation is to practice your stories again. Storytelling has a big trap that many amateur presenters, and even professional speakers, fall victim to — they do not practice their stories because they lived it. You need to practice your stories to get the order of events right, check your timing, and to make sure you’re prepared to share it. Otherwise, you will fumble your words, ramble, and confuse your audience because your story bounces around and includes numerous unnecessary details.

web_offer_banner_3_contentmarketingOne benefit my husband had in preparing for his upcoming presentation was a video of a dress rehearsal of the original presentation. This allowed him to easily get back into the mindset of the original presentation and made updating his outline easier. Even though he recorded that presentation rehearsal a week before the actual presentation, he noted it was different than the actual presentation — just a different kind of awesome.

Next time you have a chance to reuse and deliver an old presentation, embrace it and revel in the fact that you won’t have to spend as much time to prepare your presentation this time. However, remember that you’re speaking to a different audience and don’t skip all of your presentation prep, especially your rehearsal.

Additional Resources

How Speak Simple Can Help You

Win more work, increasing your billing rate, and prospects coming to you are all results of being an excellent presenter. Erica Olson created Speak Simple to help technical professionals to become comfortable presenting and excel at each presentation, whether a bid presentation or an educational, content marketing presentation. Learn more about Speak Simple’s flagship program is SpeakU, a self-guided presentation training program.

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