Power Presentations Tip 42: Beware the Fatal Presentation Sin

What destroys many presentations?

Not respecting time.

Don't make the mistake of believing that your time is more valuable than the collective time of your audience.

A presentation is an exchange of value. You deliver your message. The audience in return gives you their collective time. The audience doesn't want your time. They place little or no value on that. It's your message that's of value to them. That's the only reason they are willing to give up something so precious to them - their own time.

If you want your audience to see value in your message, respect the value of their time.

How can you demonstrate the value of their time?

Show up early for your presentation. Check out the room and equipment. Don't arrive at the last minute, rush in and then complain that things aren't set the way you wanted.

Be well prepared for your presentation. Never tell the audience that you are not really prepared - even if it's true.

Place a small travel clock where you can see it while speaking. Glance at it every few minutes to track your progress.

When it's time to start - start. Don't wait a few more minutes for more to arrive. Respect the time of those who showed up on time. They already demonstrated that they respect time. The late ones are showing disrespect for the group.

Be prepared to shorten your presentation to fit the changing agenda. Remember it's not your time they value - it's your message.

Just because you were told that you would have a 60 minute time slot - don't count on getting 60 minutes to speak. Why? Because plans and circumstances change. Be prepared and flexible to change your presentation. Be willing to leave something out.

Your audience doesn't need to hear everything that you want to say. If you were told to prepare a 60 minute speech, be prepared to deliver it in 50, 45 or 34 minutes. Even if you get your full 60 minutes - be sure to finish in 58 minutes. Never go over time.

Never leave your important point till the end. You might not get to state it.

Show your respect for time and the audience will be more willing to respect your message.

George Torok
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