August 25, 2008

Run out of time? Never again!



A common presenter mistake is to run out of time. Even when you've practiced, you sometimes find yourself rushing the last five or ten minutes of your presentation, wondering where the time went.

Well, here's an easy solution. Get yourself a countdown timer!

Sure, there may be a clock in the room or you're wearing a watch. But a clock doesn't do the math for you: What you really need to know is how much time you have left, not what time it is.

I use a countdown timer with a flashing light, a vibration or a sound alarm. I can use any of them alone or together, or turn them all off. Generally, I don't use the alarm, but it could come in handy for timed exercises, like the three-minute presentations I sometimes have my audience members prepare.

It stands up unobtrusively on the table near me (it also has a clip and a magnet) and has big enough numbers so I can see my time remaining with a quick glance. I start it at the beginning of the presentation and as it counts down to zero, I always know how much time I have left. If I'm giving a longer workshop that includes breaks, I set the timer for each segment.

If you practice your timing before the presentation and use a timer during the presentation, you will no longer have an excuse to aggravate your audience by keeping them late or failing to finish your talk.

For more suggestions on staying organized, download my Presentation Tools Checklist and Presentation Readiness Checklist!

(I also have this timer in white. They look exactly the same and have the same functions, so the only real difference is in the color and the brand.)

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Julian said...

One of my colleagues has a remote for her laptop which has a timer and will vibrate at a set time such as when you have 2 mins left in your timeslot.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I have a timer in my remote, too, but the window is tiny and the numbers are hard to see. Some remotes are probably better than others!

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