Prepare a short version: Many variables in a presentation can go wrong, leaving you with less time than you expected. The technology doesn’t always work. Other speakers might cut into your time slot by going long. An impatient executive may interrupt you with lots of questions. Prepare for the length of talk you’re scheduled to give, but also craft and rehearse a version that’s much shorter, just in case.

Fiddle with your slides: Continue to tweak your slides up until the day you present. Refining a bit of text here and adding an image there is a form of rehearsal. You become more deeply familiar with the content as you engage with your slides—so when you present, they feel seamlessly integrated with your message, not tacked-on or disruptive.

Rehearse a few times in slide show mode: Because slide-show mode doesn’t allow you to peek at the notes view, it forces even greater familiarity with the material and allows you to focus on pacing and visualize the flow. Look for choppy transitions from slide to slide, inconsistent graphics, and awkward builds as you reveal new bullets so you can smooth things out.

Practice on camera: Record some of your final rehearsals on video. You don’t need a professional set-up. Use a webcam or the camera on your cell phone or tablet. Pretend you are in front of an audience, and address the camera as if it’s a person. When you’re done, review the video to assess not just your content but also your stage presence, eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and ease of movement. Identify where you don’t appear natural, relaxed, or in command of your material—and work on those areas.

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