Vol. II # 36 – Presentation Tip
Have you ever had a recurring dream?
The dream I have is to one day attend a presentation or business meeting and have it finish on time, better yet finish early! Then again it was only a dream…until recently.
I attended a presentation and watched in awe of how well prepared and how timely this presenter was. As I subtlety glanced at my watch near the end of the presentation expecting to see the sweep second hand diligently count off each and every excruciating overtime segment, something extraordinary happened.
Even upon conclusion of the presentation, with delight I observed the audience still attentive, still engaged and instead of storming for the exit they stormed the presenter for priceless one on one time. This presenter had this planned all along as they understood the value of what I call the magic after moments. Concluding a presentation early!
TIP: Avoid breaking time contracts with audiences as it will cost everyone in the end!
Now the paid for overtime part…I can’t recall ever having a client come up to me after my presentation ran overtime (yes, it has happened to me) and had them graciously offer me an additional fee for going past my time limit. On the other hand maybe a client or an audience member would be entitled to be paid for their time when a presenters running overtime has infringed on their precious time.
Consider this, what if a presenter was issued a fine for each minute they ran over their allotted time. What if a presenter was in the workplace delivering an internal presentation with the understanding that for each minute they ran overtime their employer would routinely deduct an amount from their salary that week. Let me take it a step further, what if a presenter would be entitled to a bonus on top of their salary or fee for each minute they finished early!
A bonus?…there I go dreaming again…in any event, would more presentations end on time?
Now, let’s get to it. The sign of a polished and prepared presenter is their ability to deliver information consistently and within their allotted time. Here are two simple ways to time your presentations. First, and by the way my preferred approach, rehearse your entire presentation in real time. Let me say that again….rehearse in real time. Too often I hear individuals say to me they don’t have time to rehearse. Yet, I often I observe those same individuals having considerable time to run well past their time limit. Give me a break!
Tip: Discover presentation length by rehearsing, not by how much time you have.
If a presenter runs overtime it’s a telling sign that they really had no idea how long their presentation would take to deliver…and most importantly leave time for the magic after moments. My trademark question asked of my clients?…How long will your presentation take? Their response: I have 30 minutes on the agenda. My response: So you really have no idea how long your presentation will take.
Tip: Rehearse portions of presentations in 5 minute increments
Sure, in a perfect world each of us as presenters would rehearse our presentations each and every time. Still feel there isn’t enough time to rehearse? In that case, here’s the second simple way to rehearse your presentation. Time analysing the first 5 minutes of your presentation is a sure fire way to start to give you an idea of how long or how much material you cover in 5 minutes. Choose additional areas of your presentation and rehearse portions to a self imposed time limit of 5 minutes. Only then will you have a better sense of what material should be edited for greater impact within very precious moments of time.
The Presenters Acid Test!
How well have you prepared the opening of your presentation? Simply try what I call the Presenters Acid Test. Go ahead now and rehearse what you would deliver in the first 5 minutes. Then discard that part of the presentation completely. Surprised? In my experience, the first 5 minutes of many presentations really not much is said at all. Often when rehearsing with clients I will audio tape the first 5 minutes, play it back to them and they are often shocked at how little they said and even rambled needlessly. They decide to discard their first 5 minutes and concentrate more on an opening with impact and that captures attention within 30 seconds. If you still have any doubts at this point, my challenge to you is to audio record the first 5 minutes of your next presentation and see if their are options you would consider. Better then…rather than in front of your audience.
Concluding presentations on time…now that’s when the real payoff is realized.
How much can you afford when delivering your next presentation ?
Time is up,
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Great Presentations everyone…
Richard Peterson, North America’s Presentation Coach™