How do I keep my presentation on time?
This is one of the most important questions that every speaker should consider. Unfortunately not enough speakers think about how to stay on time.
The first point to consider is that even though your audience might not care when you start, they do care about when you finish.
So the real question is “How do you finish on time?”
Do everything you can to ensure you start on time. You might need to badger the meeting chair to get started. Don’t wait for everybody to arrive. You might need to remind the audience with announcements about the “zero tolerance” schedule.
Rehearse your presentation in modules so you could leave parts out if there isn’t enough time.
Assume that schedules will change. Be prepared to deliver that 45 minute presentation in 32 minutes. Know your message well enough so you can prioritize the content.
For every five minute segment have a three minute version. For every three minute segment have a 90 second version.
Place a clock where you can easily glance at it while speaking so you always know how much time you have left. Don’t keep staring at your watch.
Never embarrass yourself by saying “How are we doing for time?” As the speaker you should always know.
Be prepared to finish this sentence, “The most important point is….”
Tell your audience how they can get more information or ask questions after the presentation.
And finish on time.