Last week I while writing a guest post for a content marketing blog about developing presentations, I realized that I always write about creating presentations from scratch, but sometimes that isn’t necessary. Sometimes, when appropriate, you can reuse presentations, which will save a lot of time creating presentations.
Before I dig into reusing presentations, remember that the content needs to be audience-centric and if you have similar audiences and topics, it may be okay to reuse past presentations. An easy way to repurpose a past presentation is to use the same thesis and talking points, but this time use different examples or dive in deeper if you have more time available or the audience is already more knowledgeable about the topic than your previous audience. Don’t recycle a past presentation because you’re being lazy or waited too long to properly prepare for a presentation.
When I was still at the zoo, I gave the same basic presentation multiple times a day about the same 5-6 animals over 1,000 times over 5 years, yet each one was different. This allowed me to keep my sanity and when presenters repeat the same thing over and over, it generally comes across as monotone and emotionless like a bad tour guide. (People regularly commented after my presentations about my excitement and passion about the topic, so I knew I was engaging and not monotone.)
Nowadays, I have three core presentations that I give for different associations and clients, but each time I adjust the presentation to my audience whether I’m speaking to a woman’s architect group about empowering female presenters, to a business incubator about investment pitches, or to marketers about thought leadership presentations.
The key is to tailor your message and information to your audience. Over time, you’ll create a few different presentations and eventually, you’ll be able to recycle those presentations. If you break up your content with multiple Q&A sessions, it may be easier to mesh multiple presentations together because your content is more modular. Just remember that everything needs to flow cohesively and so that you’re not bouncing around, which I call a spider web presentation, one that lacks logical order.
To prevent spider webbing when combining multiple presentations, start with an outline and only pull content previously developed once your outline is done. It makes no sense reinventing the wheel, especially when creating visual aids. (I’ve even worked with a few clients that built out robust slide decks in PowerPoint or Prezi and adjusted the slides they showed and hid based on the audience.)
- Blog posts
- Guest posts
- Video blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
When you repurpose a presentation, it means you’ve already delivered that presentation, you still must practice each time to keep it fresh. If you don’t practice it, you won’t be prepared, say more crutch words, and disrespect the audience, who is expecting your best. Also, don’t forget to debrief following your presentation so you can continually improve your skills and the specific presentation.
Having some presentations “in the hopper” makes it easier to say “yes” to last minute requests that could be good for your career and business.
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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.
Remember to still practice and to debrief