How to Stay Within Your Time Limit When Presenting

If you practice your presentation and find that it’s too long, you have only 2 options to cut the time:

1) Have fewer points
You can’t tell the audience everything you know about a subject, especially if you’re an expert.  Too much information will overwhelm them.  Instead, figure out what this specific audience needs to know about your topic - what is the one key message you’d like them to remember?  Then make sure your points support that message.

2) Say less about each point
Don’t go into detail about each point because too much explanation and background will cost you time.  Instead, mention the point briefly and then move on (And you could include resources containing more detail in a handout or at the end of your presentation).

Speaking faster is not an option, since in order to have a real impact on the time, you will have to speak too quickly for the audience to understand you.

To help with your timing, prepare time checkpoints so as you’re delivering your presentation, you can judge how you’re doing with the time.  For example, you would know that you should be on the second of your four points by midway through your time limit.

Following these strategies will help you stay within your time limit, which will automatically make you a better presenter.

Gilda Bonanno’s blog