Power Presentations Tip 13
"What time should I finish?"
Know the answer to this question before you begin your presentation. And be prepared to cut it short because things change.
Before you present to a group always know how long you have been allotted to speak. In many cases the agenda will state a start and stop time for your presentation. When it doesn't or when the meeting gets off schedule then you should ask the meeting chair (quietly if possible) just before you start, "What time should I finish?"
Don't assume that you still have the 30 minutes that you were told two weeks ago. Don't assume that the agenda hasn't changed. Don't assume that the temperament of the group is what you prepared for.
Don't make the mistake that I did recently. I was to deliver a new presentation to a small informal group of associates. We deviated from the agenda. There was a delay with the projector (which I usually don't use). I was anxious about testing my new presentation on this group. And anxious about the equipment delay I launched into my presentation. About ¾ of the way I realized I didn't know what time I should finish. And I had more material than I had time.
It's always better to ask and risk embarrassment then be silent and wonder forever. So I turned to the chair and asked, "When should I finish?" He gracefully allowed me five more minutes.
I should have asked him that question just after the equipment was set to go. But I was anxious.
It was an easy mistake to make and this time it was not a critical presentation.
You might not have that luxury when you present. Learn from my mistake.
Four more tips
If you have called the meeting and told people that you want 30 minutes of their time - finish in 29 minutes. They will be impressed.
To stay on time - place a small travel clock where you can clearly see the time.
Never annoy the chair by asking your audience if they want more.
Write the stop time on an index card and place it next to your clock.
PS: tell me how this tip helps you.
PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.
Register for Free Presentation Skills Tips
Power Presentations is a registered trademark of Peter Urs Bender.
George Torok is registered to use this trademark.
Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.