If you have to prepare a presentation on short notice, make this your priority
Great presentations require weeks, if not months, of preparation and practice. However, we don’t always have the luxury of time: the board wants an update, a prospective client asked for a meeting, or a last minute cancellation at an industry conference opens for you to fill in as a speaker.
With limited time, focus on your audience. Don’t worry about creating a full deck of slides. Pinpoint what it is you want out of the presentation, and then research exactly what it is that your audience wants to learn. Devote your energy to this intersection of needs/wants, and outline the messages – and supporting facts – that will bridge you to your audience. If there is a chart, diagram or other visual that supports a critical point, include that as a slide. The point is not to tether yourself to the expectation that you need a full deck to give a compelling presentation. You can always send a more thorough summary document after the meeting, which captures any takeaways or answers to requests for additional information.