Time: A Potential Presentation Killer

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Time: A Potential Presentation Killer

When it comes to planning a presentation, the number one consideration is time. You have an allotted amount of time to get your message out and it’s critical that you stick to that time. You’ve put a lot of thought into this and you have the perfect roadmap to make your conference a big success. The agenda looks great on paper, and everyone agrees the flow is good.

speaker going past time

Everything is in order. The food and beverage are all in line and your AV looks sharp and is ready to roll. The event is ready to begin and the atmosphere is electrified. Your first presenter is greeted with loud applause, and she hits her presentation out of the park. But wait…suddenly you realize she has used more time than allotted for her talk including the Q and A.  No worries, you will make it up on the break, right? No, that rarely works out.

So how will you recover the time and get back on schedule? An option is to shorten the break, but will your attendees have the time they need for refreshments, returning emails and phone calls? OK, so maybe the other speakers will shorten their talks a bit to help out? This seems reasonable to everyone, but once the speaker starts their talk, especially if it’s an interesting or hot topic, this plan to shorten usually doesn’t pan out. So how do you combat the constant progression of time without robbing your guests of important information or cramping the conference style?

Following an agenda is a critical step in a smooth-running meeting. Once all agree on the conference timeline, it is imperative that everyone sticks to the plan. After all, how would a presenter feel if the amount of time they had for their talk was shortened right before they start?  How would that affect their performance? If the break or lunch are pushed back, what happens to all the food that was hot and waiting. And what if some attendees have planes to catch and have to miss some key information due to delays? There are so many consequences to mismanaging time at your event. Here are 8 steps to help you manage the time at your next meeting.

  • Follow the agenda to the letter
  • Ask speakers to include 5 minutes of Q & A in their given time
  • Ask guests to hold all questions until the end of presentation
  • Ask guests to follow up with speakers on their own should they have more questions
  • Use a large bright speaker timer so speakers can adjust if they are running short; or other visual clue  (Toastmasters uses green/yellow/red cards to indicate the amount of time left)
  • Give copies of the agenda to all key players including AV techs
  • A reliable AV company, Like Lucas Productions AV, will help you keep on target
  • Keep everyone up to date on any schedule changes due to time constraints

And finally, remember this rule of thumb: If your allocated time is one hour, limit your presentation to forty minutes and allow fifteen minutes for questions and five minutes for the inevitable interruption or delay!