You and I have both been there—adding to a presentation at the last minute and frantically trying to slap together slides that make sense and look decent-ish.
Getting the final slides from your coworkers on time can be like trying to herd cats. It just isn’t gonna happen, pawtner.
When I was working on pitches at one of the largest ad agencies in the world, I learned a trick that saved myself and my team members from countless all-nighters.
Nothing irritates more than time wasted, so I don't say this lightly; this trick has made my life instantly easier. True, we can’t get your republican relatives to understand climate change, but we can get you a few more full nights of rest.
Now that I’ve told you about my brisk autumn walk and the soup I made this weekend, here’s the trick:
For imaginary deadlines to work, you have to consider three things:
Before anything else, you need to believe in this imaginary deadline wholeheartedly. If your team thinks this deadline is a light suggestion, it’s going to be just that. Get that poker face on, look your coworkers dead in the eye and tell them the hard stop on content is 5 pm on Tuesday. When the presentation is actually at 10 am on Thursday.
Give yourself enough time to design, edit, proofread, whatever you need to do. Double the amount of time it usually takes you to do whatever you need to do before a presentation. Subtract from the presentation date, and you’ve got your new imaginary deadline.
Communicate clearly & early with leadership why you’re doing this. Only inform the team members that need to know what you’re doing and why you’re setting this imaginary deadline as soon as possible. This way, they can get on board as well.
There you have it!
This one trick has saved me from many, many all-nighters; which I realize as I get older, is something my body can’t do the same way as when I was 22. (Get off my lawn!)
I’m genuinely interested to hear if this has worked for you OR if you have similar time management tips for presentations that have worked wonders, give me a shout in the comments or just email me directly.