I have enjoyed camping and backpacking for the majority of my life. I am a proud Eagle Scout, and as you might imagine; have amassed a large collection of gear to handle a variety of seasons and styles of camping. A recent impromptu trip provided me with the following observation about the similarities to presentations.

My ‘golden rule’ is to pack only what is needed to be safe, and have a lot of fun. Since everything I will need to survive will be strapped to my back – therefore limited by weight and size of pack – it is crucial that everything is carefully chosen, well-organized, balanced, and certain items are handy at all times. Since weather reports are merely predictions, always prepare for cold rainy days as well as perfect sunny ones in the same trip. Keep detailed maps and essential tools easy to grab. Lastly, among the multi-use tools and devices, it is good to have a couple comfort items that just make you feel good. I won’t lie, I often have a camera with me when I go camping to take shots like this.

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Just like my camping gear, we all have a variety of stories, tools, scenarios, handouts, and ideas for our client presentations. There is absolutely no way we can use it all in one meeting since we are limited by time, and our audience’s absorption rate (Click here for ideas on Law of Communication).

Take a little time to properly research and plan, thus assuring you are packing the necessary material. Topics should have a natural flow and pace, but be prepared to adjust your timing in each subject matter. Referring to a map is not cheating; it is a smart play as long as it is done properly.

Emotional storms are more unpredictable than the weather, so be sure to anticipate what would happen if a cold front meets your high-pressure system. Storms like these are precisely what builds your expertise, comfort, and respect.

And those comfort items, regardless of what they might be, are there to put a smile on your face and reassure you that you are going to be ok. I often present with a special coin or of folded personal mission statement in my pocket. One touch helps remind me why I am making the presentation in the first place.

Adventures await us all, let’s get packing!

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