What a relief! You have a presentation to make, and someone has handed you a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation all ready to use. So you quickly review it the night before the big presentation, and you are good to go, right?
Boy, I sure hope not! Trust me, if you didn't build the presentation yourself, you don't know it without putting some real time into it. You have to take ownership of your presentation.
I can't count the number of times that I have sat through a presentation when it was clear that the presenter did not know the material. To effectively use a slide deck you need to have your material down pat. If you are lucky, the presentation that you have been handed has good presenter's notes. It would be nice, but in my experience, it doesn't happen very often. The solution, review each slide with care. Why is this slide part of the presentation? What is the key point? What questions may your audience have, and are you prepared with answers?
Don't hesitate to edit the presentation if it doesn't make sense to you. Lets face it, if you don't understand it, your audience won't! Don't trust the presentation. Check it carefully for typos and content errors. Does the sequence of the slides make sense? If not, change it! Make use of the presenter's notes field and add your own notes.
I always stress the importance of rehearsing your presentation, but it is even more important when you are using someone else's presentation. Once you have made your first round of edits, run through the whole presentation. Stop and take notes if you are unclear on any point and go back and edit your slides where appropriate.
On the day of the presentation, set up your computer in dual screen mode. Place your laptop so that you can see it when you are facing the audience, and set up the Presenter's Screen to include your notes.
If you have taken the time to master the presentation, just relax and enjoy the experience. You will do great!