Timing presentations

June 3, 2006 § 1 Comment

Timing presentations

Image by cristinacosta via Flickr

As second entry on presentations, timing and pacing …

Trading off length of time and content of speech/presentation

Depending on content, our speech or presentation will have a certain “estimated length”. And depending on length, our speech will have to be compressed or curtailed (reduced to fit available time).

Time keeping

Make sure we have our watch or a clock visible to us during a presentation, or to have someone keep time for us. Simple signals or glances at a clock or watch, to check if we are on track or lag behind, do not really disrupt the audience’s focus.

Leaving time for Refutation

For more on “Refutation of possible objections and solving or minimally noting foreseen problems”, see Focusing presentations.
Clearly announce time for questions and answers from the audience in the beginning. For some decisions we can even make our speech or presentation part of a decision making process. Boundary conditions for figuring out for which decisions this may work are: Speech and presentation materials can be distributed in time for introverts to prepare, we know how long we wish to spend on “refutation”, and we are not overlooking too many problems (stakeholders that may be affected are present).

Time before a speech

Check if the length of our speech is the same as meeting planner and audience expect.

Cutting time

We can make a speech or presentation “modular” by clearly marked notes, or other ways that work for us. By knowing which parts are core, and which ones are curtailed parts, we can choose to leave out/add a part without disrupting the speech and overall continuity of the message we are delivering.

Filling time

What if our speech goes too short, for example when presenting to investors, shareholders or board, and not many objections are given, or not many questions are asked? Let’s make sure we have something we can pull out of our hats. We can use particular discussion points that came up during the design and feedback rounds for creating the speech or presentation. Or we can use (curtailed) parts. Interactive parts in a speech or presentation are really good for this, and can be tailor made to encourage people to share thoughts, objections and/or ask questions!

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