A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Two things you need to do right now…

…to prevent presentation disaster later.

(Assuming you haven’t already done so.)

1) Make a boilerplate packing list:

Leaving something behind is one of the surest ways to screw up your ability to present successfully. It’s also one of the most preventable. If you are involved in more than two or three presentations a year, you really gotta make sure you aren’t re-inventing the wheel each time you’re about to go on the road. Formalize your packing routine by making, and reusing, a boilerplate packing list.

Let’s face it, you’ve most likely already made this list. And made it. And made it again from scratch for every trip you’ve taken. Even though it’s really gratifying to do so, don’t aggressively scribbling out each item as it’s packed and don’t chuck out the used up list as you head for the door. Next time, just put a single line through each item so you can still read it, and leave it safely on your desk so it can be keyed into an Excel spreadsheet once you return.

You now have the first draft of a permanent, custom, validated packing list. This is going to be a living document and items will be added and removed on a regular basis as you remember things you forgot to include, as old tech is abandoned and as new tech is adopted (floppies to ZIP disks to flash drives). At least you now have a baseline list to start from for future trips and you can sleep well knowing that all of the essentials are covered.

And even if you’re not sleeping well (perhaps due to pulling an all-nighter finishing the PowerPoint), you can still do a good job of packing everything you need in spite of your sleep-deprived brain not working at peak efficiency.

This is a list which was taped inside my closet when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. … It should be clear that this was a list made by someone who prized control, yearned after momentum…

~Joan Didion, The White Album

2) Make a “must have” plan:

Once you have a really comprehensive packing list that’s gotten you through a couple presentations, print out a copy and take a good look at it. Highlight each item that’s critical to your presentation success — the things you absolutely cannot do without. It might be your passport, your projector, the cable that connects you laptop to other projectors. It will almost definitely be your slide files.

For everything you highlighted, all of your must haves, make sure you have a fool-proof, bullet-proof, weather-proof, everything-proof plan that guarantees it will be available when and where you need it.

The creative, problem-solving frame of mind necessary to save the day when one of your must haves is missing or malfunctioning can’t be reliably invoked when you’re in the high tension, on-site environment the day (or hour) of your presentation. Contingency plans are best made in the calm quiet of your office weeks or months before the event.

Your Turn:

Do you have a boilerplate packing list and a solid “must have” plan? Did one of these tools ever save you butt? Would you be willing to share the story?

Comments are closed.