On May 1, an elite military special operations unit stealthfully traveled from Afghanistan into Pakistan and landed in a compound where Al-Qaida terrorism chief Osama bin Laden was thought to be hiding. Osama was there and was killed during the raid on his compound. The political ramifications, conjecture, and facts will no doubt be discussed for years. In my May 9 post, I shared Lessons, Part 1.
The special forces team was successful in large part because they built a replica of bin Laden's compound and practiced extensively for several months to maximize the chances of success.
Most likely, national security is not at stake if you have less than stellar results from your next presentation or slip up on the delivery. However, you can take the same steps to maximize your success.
Take the time to determine the purpose for your presentation, plan your key points and sub-points, and how you will illustrate these with visuals and relevant stories.
Once you've designed your presentation, practice it. You should not have it so scripted that it sounds like you are reading, but you should be familiar with the content so that your audience can recognize your ownership of the content. Rather than rehearsing in front of the mirror, practice in front of supportive friends and family. You can also share parts of the presentation as part of conversations during the day.