Monday, December 18

Timing Your Presentation

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An important skill that speakers need to exhibit is the ability to shorten or lengthen their program on demand.  There may be occasion where you are sharing the platform with other presenters and the program runs over schedule requiring you to shorten your presentation.  Additionally, there may be an occasion where speakers run ahead of schedule or a scheduled presenter may have to cancel, giving you extra time to present.  Being intimately acquainted with your topic and being well practiced will enable you to skillfully adjust your presentation without any anxiety or hesitation.

Here are a few tips that can help you to plan the timing of your presentation and execute it like a pro:

  1. Add in extra time– When planning and practicing your speech or virtual training, consider that it will take about 10% longer when it is delivered.  For example, a 20-minute speech should time out to be about 18 minutes in rehearsal, if you include your pauses and your timing.
  2. Laughter takes longer than you think– By all means, don’t rob the audience of a good laugh. Everyone likes to laugh and laughter connects your participants to you. It is a common mistake for unskilled speakers not to allow the audience enough time to complete their laughter. In the speaking profession, that is called stepping on your laughter. In fact, if something’s funny, the laughter generally will start with a few more quick witted people before it permeates the room.
  3. Practice your speech in blocks– Practice the introduction over and over, and time it. Practice the closing over and over, and time that. Practice each story or each segment over and over, and time them as well. By doing this you will know the length of each segment.  Then if your speech is too long, you can calculate easily which section to shorten or delete.
  4. Questions and answers– If appropriate for your presentation, but sure to allocate time for Q & A.  There are a variety of factors that could affect your Q & A such as the nature of the presentation, the audience, and if the topic is of high interest. If question and answers are a part of your program, then be sure to build in time for it.  But keep an eye of the clock, as time can get away quickly during this part of the presentation.
  5. Introduction– If you are a guest at an event, the host will most likely introduce you.  If so, give the host a scripted introduction so they can properly welcome you. Do not leave your introduction to chance. By writing your introduction and giving it to the host, you can ensure a proper introduction and plan it into the timing of your speech.
  6. Do not run over– If you are a guest at an event, a good way to ensure that you don’t run over is to ask the meeting planner what time you need to be done,  instead of asking how much time you have to speak.  If the event is running behind schedule when you take the platform, you will need to shorten your presentation in order to finish at the required time. 

When delivering presentations, you will always need to pay attention to the time and be prepared to alter your content if necessary. This may include lengthening or shortening your presentation as needed.  Being intimately acquainted with the topic and being well practiced will allow you to effortlessly and flawlessly adjust to the event’s schedule.   In addition, using these 6 tips will ensure your next presentation is delivered like a pro.


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