Help! I have a presentation tomorrow & I am not prepared

presentation tomorrow and not prepared

If you have a presentation tomorrow & you are not prepared, you can start off by assessing the criteria around the presentation. Then you can create a simple structure and start gathering information. Do not write down your entire speech, use pointers or keywords. You can use a template for the PPT and end with a practice run to assess how things go.

Preparation is key when it comes to presentation and there are many ways to do it. Practicing can go a long way in making your presentation successful and anxiety free, among other benefits (check here for ways you can practice). Now that you do not have much time with an upcoming presentation tomorrow and are not prepared, your options may be limited but they’re still there.

We will delve straight away into what you can do now & then we will cover some tips that can help you in this situation.

what you can do to prepare

What can you do now to make the presentation a success?

This would include assessing the criteria around the presentation, creating a simple structure, gathering information quickly, using pointers rather than writing the entire speech, making PPT in no time, and practicing. 

Assess the Criteria

There are a few things you’d want to keep in mind when going ahead to avoid making a mess:

  • Pre-specified format for presentation
  • Time-limit when presenting
  • Any materials or other resources you need to carry to the presentation
  • Your main objective

Some of these might not be applicable to you but if they are, missing them out can waste a lot of time later. These are usually easily accessible on pages or documents like event info/course plan/presenting details. Better to be mindful of these right when you’re starting!

Create a Simple Structure

Creating a basic outline is simple- introduction, main body, and conclusion. How you subdivide these areas will depend on the information but there is no need to complicate it. Always make sure to focus on your main objective. If, for instance, your objective is to explain the benefits of exercise, you could create different sections in the main body for each benefit and then substantiate it.

If you have slightly more time on your hand, you can either 1. Refer to how it is typically done (such as this one for scientific presentations), or 2. Find information and structure on the basis of that.

If you want to delve into more details on presentation structure, check out this article.

Gather Information Quickly

To gather information, go for a few reliable sources in your field rather than many unreliable ones. The latter can take a while to figure out what is good and what isn’t.

You may also use ChatGPT or other AI tools for this purpose as it can make the process much quicker, but make sure to double-check the information it gives you.

Write Pointers, Not Entire Speech!

Since you have less time, do not try to prepare complete speeches by writing them down. Speaking word-to-word from a paper does not look good anyway. Instead, prepare pointers and keywords that can act as nudges for you to speak the whole thing. These can be present in the PPT itself or you can use a small chit.

Even when you’re writing the pointers, try not to focus too much on things you cannot remember, like figures and facts. You can put those on the PPT for the audience to look at themself. Focus only on easy-to-remember pointers that you can describe in good detail.

Make a PPT in no time!

Now that you have your information in place, it’s time to make it visually attractive using a PPT. When information is well organized and attractive to view, it makes the audience more engaged.

You can use templates from sites such as Canva, SlidesCarnival, and Slidesgo. They allow for a lot of customization on top of the elements that are already there, which can come in handy on short notice.


Last, but not least, rehearse your presentation at least once. Have a timer, pretend it’s the actual thing, and go for it. This is the most important part, and you’ll realize if any edits on the PPT or changes in the speech need to be made on the basis of this. Do not pressure yourself to make things perfect, try to do the reasonable best in the time constraint you have.

There are effective techniques for memorization, such as mnemonics, that can help you learn things quickly. Additionally, the use of cue cards can assist in retaining important information, including topics and terms.

Other Tips to Help You Last-Minute

This would include being confident, being ready to improvise, and focusing on the main objective.

Being Confident

Practice helps the best with confidence. Additionally, keep in mind that if this was a last-minute thing, there may be some things you missed. Do not be surprised when this is discovered, aim to correct it on the spot through your speech. Apart from that, you can also:

  • Take a bunch of long deep breaths before the presentation
  • Engage in a power pose and shrug off any tension so your body language appears comfortable
  • Remind yourself that you know your material and can manage what you do not

Don’t aim to be perfect

Some things can go wrong and it does for many presenters, such as technical issues or the audience not answering. This might especially be the case when you’re not prepared. Know that it’s normal and there is no need to do it perfectly.

You can also use light humour to defuse any tension or point things out instead of covering for them. E.g., when the audience doesn’t answer, you could smile and say, “I get that most of you are not even interested in this topic but wow! Moving on!”

When there is a Q and A section to your presentation and you do not know the answer to something, feel free to add that you’ll get back about it. If that is not an option, be honest and tell them you’re not sure. It’s understandable not to know everything. 

Focus On Your Main Objective

What are you trying to do through this presentation? Inform others? Persuade? Entertain? It could be anything. Keep that in mind and focus on that when you’re presenting. Without this, other relatively less important things can distract you and make you lose focus on what’s important.

Check out this article for some more tips.


We covered what exactly you can do when you have a presentation tomorrow & are not prepared along with some practical methods and resources that you could use. We also covered some tips that can help you ace the presentation. 

Presentations involve public speaking, which is a skill that you can master. Public speaking coaching can help with that.

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