Presentation preparation is vital to your success. Your words are powerful. Knowing this, you seek to prepare content that will support the goal that leads to your hope. You know your crowd and have identified the audience’s benefit. It is time to get to work crafting content that will be the most effective for this specific situation.
You are motivated and pointed in the right direction. So, why is it so hard to focus? It could be that you are dealing with distractions associated with time and location. Remember the old saying that there is a time and place for everything? It is true regarding presentation preparations. Time and place can be hurdles to productivity, or they can be boosters. Here are three tips to help you improve your presentation preparations.
Uninterrupted Time Improves Presentation Preparation
The first way to improve preparations for presentations is to find a quiet time in your schedule. When can you have uninterrupted time to think? For many people, it is the early morning hours. That is true for me. I woke at 5:30 and was writing by 6:30. The first interruptions typically begin around 9:30. I have a three-hour window of quiet time. It is rare for a phone to ring, a message to chime, or an email to arrive that warrants my attention. I can focus without having to shut anyone out.
I have a good friend whose quiet time comes late at night. She can focus well between midnight and two o’clock in the morning. It is rare for interruptions to occur during this time. She can work without having to filter incoming messages.
Another consideration is your personal preference of time. I am a morning person. I like the morning hours because that is when I am at my best for writing. The opposite is true for my friend.
What about you? What is that time for you? What is your preference? Hopefully, your situation will allow you to find time in the space in which you are at your best.
Simple, Well-Lit Spaces Improve Presentation Preparation
The second way to improve preparations for presentations is to find a quiet space to work. In our house, we have three adults working from home. There are three empty bedrooms and space in the den, living room, and dining area. Since there are so many options for workspaces, it was surprising to find that the smallest room among these options is also the most popular. We tease each other about how much the space is used. There are three reasons that the room is popular. It is uncluttered. There is nothing on the walls, and a big window allows natural light.
In the early 2010s, research began to emerge that focused on elementary schoolrooms. They discovered something counter-intuitive—something that would be both freeing and frustrating to elementary teachers. Most of the images and information on classroom walls are doing more harm than good. The visual clutter creates mental clutter. Students in bare-walled classrooms do better than those in rooms with the common scrap-book walls.
Similar findings were discovered regarding the importance of natural light in educational settings. The outcome improvements were significant—20 to 26 percent increases in test scores. It is amusing to see the number of window companies that are cashing in on this research. It seems that we were created for natural light. Studying in artificial light (especially fluorescents) hurts a student’s ability to think well.
The same is probably true for us. It is worth testing. Find an uncluttered space with bare walls and good natural light, and see what happens!
Time Limits Improve Presentation Preparation
The third way to improve presentation preparations is to dedicate a set amount of time to focus. Focused work is mentally draining. Like the muscles in your arms and legs fatigue after a strenuous workout, your brain fatigues with concentrated thought.
Fortunately, there is another similarity. Like the muscles in your arms and legs, you can increase the stamina of your focus. The more you work out, the stronger you become, the longer you can focus.
For most of us, the demands of work restrict the time available for focused thought. If that time is less than four hours, there is a good chance that you can build up to that amount of focus. Start where you are; be patiently determined to improve.
Determination Improves Presentation Preparation
My current ability to focus is about two hours. This is good because it fits into the uninterrupted time frame discussed earlier. I hope to extend it to three hours. That will take months to achieve, but I am confident that it will happen.
As I write this article, I am one hour and fifteen minutes into that time frame. I feel good, but I am looking forward to the two hours being over. The house is quiet. Natural light illuminates the room. There is little clutter in front of me. And I am pleased with the productivity.
I hope you will find the best time and place to create great content for your Big Presentations.
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What is (or could be) a good time for you to have focused preparations?
What is (or could be) a good place for you to have focused preparations?
How long do you think you can focus? 30 minutes? An hour? Two hours?