When Presenting, Stay Within Your Time Limit

When you’re giving a presentation, it’s crucial that you don’t go over the time limit.

Whether you’ve set it yourself or have agreed to a time limit set by the meeting organizer, you need to prepare so that you can cover your topic within that time limit. No one will usually complain if you end a minute early, but the moment you go past your time limit, people will get restless and impatient.

It’s disrespectful to ignore the time limit. If you go over by ten minutes, what you’re really saying to the audience is, “what I have to say is so important that I really don’t care what it is that you’re missing while you sit here and listen to me.” And that’s not the message that you want to send to your audience and it certainly won’t help you keep their attention.

(Yes, the situation is different if you are running a discussion, negotiation or brainstorming session where everyone decides that more time is needed. But what I’m talking about here is a presentation where you have a fixed amount of time and a fixed amount of information to convey within that time limit.)


The best way to determine how long it will take to deliver your content is to practice delivering it and time yourself, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve given this presentation.

There is no magic formula about how long it takes to present a certain number of slides. It depends on how much information is on the slides, how long you take to explain it and whether you answer questions during your presentation or at the end. I’ve seen people spend an hour on one slide. I’ve also seen them deliver twenty slides in three minutes.

Cut out what you don’t need

Focus on what the audience needs to know, rather than everything you could possibly tell them. Eliminate anything that’s not related to your message. If it doesn’t support or help the audience understand your message, eliminate it..

Keep extra material in your notes in case you get a question about it. You can also send it to people before or after the presentation, but don’t clutter your presentation with extraneous information that wastes time.

This is a difficult part of the process, especially if you’re an expert in your field. There’s so much that you could say and that you want to share, but you don’t have the time. So you have to be careful at choosing which facts, stories, examples, data, that you’re going to share and which ones you’re not.

Acknowledge that you are not covering everything

During your presentation, you can say, “in the interest of time, I’m not going to go into detail [on the design of this experiment, the process by which gathered this data, etc.]. If you’re interested, see me afterwards and I’ll share it with you.”

If you stay within your time limit when you’re presenting, the audience is more likely to pay attention and remember your message.

Basic Guidelines on How to Deliver a Good Business Presentation

The importance of business presentation is definitely hard to ignore when it comes to the matter of business. Whether your audience are the customers, team members or company executives, how you present your proposal and ideas is very crucial to its success. As a presenter, you need to inspire positive reactions during your presentation and that is only possible if you put effort and thought into your presentation. Otherwise, you will only bore your audience if you appear unfocused and unprepared, and more likely they won’t be interested with your proposal. So here are some tips that can help you make your business presentation attractive and interesting:

  • This one is a no-brainer, but there is no such thing as over preparing. The more important the presentation is, the more would you want to prepare ahead of time. Being prepared bestows you with confidence that could be crucial to the success of your business presentation. The more you prepare, the more you will be able to determine the key points, plan for emergencies and the more you likely you will be able to answer the questions that will be thrown at you during the presentation.
  • In order to have an effective presentation, you need to be clear with regards to the message that you are trying to convey. In addition to that you need to present that message in a way that the audience would find it memorable and entertaining. A typical audience either wants to learn something new or they want to be entertained. Providing with them both guarantees you a positive response.
  • It is important that you know the audience beforehand. Knowing your audience will enable you plan your presentation according to their interest and concern. Don’t even think about making a presentation that generally caters to all because you will only end up with a generic and boring presentation. Cater to your audience and you’re sure that you will have most of their attention during the entire duration of your presentation.
  • If you are going to do a business presentation, make sure that you take advantage of visual aids. Graphical representations can have more impact to your audience and can also keep their attention level high. Fortunately, modern technology allows us to utilize devices like a rear projection screen or film projector in order to improve business presentations through visual aids.
  • Not all of us are born to be natural public speakers, so in order to compensate for this, you need to practice. The more you get nervous during public speaking, the more you need to practice. Practice loosens you up and makes the act of presenting come across naturally. Practice with a mirror or practice with some people you know like family, friends and colleagues. Just keep practicing until your presentation becomes natural.

Not all of us are very gifted when it comes to pitching ideas, but with the right amount of preparation and practice, there is no reason why one shouldn’t improve.

“Body Language – ‘Hands’ – How To Immediately Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Do you observe the body language of someone’s hands when you’re negotiating? To win more negotiations, you should listen to their hands! Hands convey a lot of hidden information in a negotiation.

There’s so much information conveyed by the way someone uses their hands. People use them to show appreciation by clapping. They display their hands to exhibit displeasure in other ways (i.e. sitting on their hands). They also use their hands when speaking? Hands give insight into the thought process that someone has. As someone is speaking, their hands add or detract from the message they’re delivering; you do the same when you’re conveying information, too.

When there’s a difference between someone’s words and their body language, pay more attention to their body language. It will disclose someone’s intent more than their words. Consider the following lightly when conversing with someone. Consider it more strongly when you’re negotiating.

Hands close to the body
The closer someone has their hands to their body, the more guarded are their thoughts. You’ll see this display when someone senses perceived threats to their well-being. Their hands are in that position to protect themselves from perceived indifference.

If you see this in a negotiation, it may behoove you to put the other negotiator at ease. Based on what caused him to display his guarded gesture, you may have to address that point before you can induce the comfort you seek to invoke in him.

Hands with interlocking fingers -
When you observe a negotiator in this position, he could be displaying a demeanor that states that he’s not open to your offer, suggestion, or counteroffer. To confirm your observance, consider questioning him about the meaning of his display (e.g. I noticed you have your hands closed and your fingers locked. That usually means that someone (use ‘someone’ to avoid ‘you’ – the latter may make him defensive) is not open to something that has occurred. Is anything wrong?). Then, note his response. If he unlaces his fingers and opens his hands, while saying everything is okay, ask him to proceed. Two things will have happened. One, you will have altered his body language, which will entice him to become more mentally receptive to you and your offers. Two, you will have given him the lead in the negotiation. Based on what he does with it, he’ll give insight about what caused the initial display that you brought into question. And, he’ll give vision to what he’d like to discuss. That will highlight what’s important to him.
Hands pushed away palms out
Take special note of this gesture because it indicates that the originator wants no part of what caused him to display the gesture. You can note future discernment by the degree that he forces this gesture outward. Also, be aware of this gesture when the other negotiator voices his assertion that he’s in agreement with you. In this case, his body language belies his true feelings. Believe that more than his words.

There are other hand gestures that give insight into a negotiator’s thought process. We’ll leave those to discuss at another time. For now, note the signals mentioned above. In so doing, you’ll be more perceptive. That will assist you in winning more negotiations… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!