When Presenting, Don’t Go Over the Time Limit

When you give a presentation, you have a certain amount of information you’d like to convey, centered on one core message, but you also have a limited amount of time in which to communicate it.

We have all been in presentations where the speaker exceeds the time limit and keeps speaking.  Or when he is given the five-minute warning and is not even halfway through the presentation, so he rushes through the rest of his slides at full speed. 

It is disrespectful to the audience (and to any project managers following you) to go over your time limit.

If you are given ten minutes to present, plan to speak for eight.  If you are given 60 minutes to present, plan for 50.  You should know enough about your topic to speak for longer, but you should prepare your actual presentation to be under the time limit. No one will complain if you end a few minutes early.

It takes preparation, practice and focus to stay within the time limit.  After you organize your material around your core message, practice giving the presentation and time it. If you are over the time limit, cut out something.  Repeat this process until you are well under the time limit. 

If you do nothing else differently other than to end your presentation before the time is up, you will automatically be a better presenter.

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