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Picture this: It’s Friday. You’re on top of all your deadlines. Everything is going well. You’re looking forward to the weekend. And then, just as you’re getting set to punch-out, your boss informs you that you need to make a very important presentation at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. No one else can do it but you. For a few seconds you feel on top of the world (you’re the Chosen One!) and then you come crashing down. How on earth will you turn this around so quickly???? You panic. You feel like tearing your hair out. You wish you hadn’t been so obviously Best-in-Class.

Sounds familiar? Rare is the achiever who hasn’t been in a similar situation at work.

For moments like these – which are inevitable – we have two simple, soothing words.


So that when you’re pressed for time, you won’t be (too) stressed.


While you can’t predict when the crisis will come, or what the immediate demands will be, you can anticipate the parameters within which you are expected to deliver.

You also know, from previous experience, the elements you need to build an effective presentation (apart from the data, which is presentation-specific).

Listing those elements and building a grab-bag of resources is key to handling the crisis with calm.

For example, you know you will need:

  1. Interesting images
  2. Inspiring quotations
  3. Original formats

Starting from there, a 3-point strategy will help you prep in advance for those urgent demands.

  1. Identify free resources
  2. Save interesting links
  3. Download images and quotes 

One of the great wonders of the world wide web is the amount of material that is available for free. There’s only one drawback – not all of it is brilliant. When you’re in a hurry, trawling through hundreds of images adds to the sense of frustration. What one ends up doing then is settling for second-best, or using the first thing that shows up, i.e. something obvious.

You can avoid this by spending free time (in between other tasks) browsing for images that really appeal. Images that leap out. Images that link in with your current and future projects. Some of our favourite sites are unsplashpixabay and pexels and there are a whole lot more.

For inspiring and thought-provoking quotations is a good place to go. But even better, we feel, is to keep a file with quotes that inspire YOU personally, in the course of your life. Lines from books you are reading, lectures you have been stimulated by – jot them down. That way, your presentation will not only be original, it will also communicate the breadth and range of your mind and interests.

For original formats, look beyond sites that offer PPT suggestions. Keep in mind that new formats are being invented everyday thanks to new technologies and platforms. See how Instagram uses one image at a time to tell a story. Look at blogs that list their favourite sources of inspiration (e.g. in different fields.

So many times we come across things that blow our minds. But unless we archive them, we are likely to forget. Don’t let your interesting finds go to waste. Save links – under easily identifiable filenames – in that D-Day folder, so that at the crucial moment you know exactly where to go.

To recap:

  1. Identify key resources
  2. Archive valuable finds
  3. Build your inventory over time

Good luck! You’ll see: by preparing slowly and steadily over time, you will be able to prove that overnight presentations can be overnight sensations!