One of the biggest fears we have when presenting is that we are going to run out of time, or perhaps go over time and not be able to get our important takeaways across.

And this is a very important consideration, although to finish early is a far safer as no one really likes long presentations unless of course you are working to a speaker schedule at a conference.

The common perception is we can time ourselves according to the number of PowerPoint or keynote slides we have. This is not correct, as some slides simply need to be shown for as little as five to ten seconds, while others can be used to speak for five or even ten minutes! The time it takes to speak around a single slide differs from slide to slide, speaker to speaker and also depending on the amount of content per slide.

It is apparent that we need a better method to determine how long our presentations are really going to take us.

Clicking through your slides and ‘visualising’ how long your presentation will take you is not a fool proof tactic either. When you find yourself standing in front of your audience, suddenly you are likely to find that the complicated concept that took only a minute to explain in your head does not flow so easily from your lips. In the real world scenario, you now find a room full of blank faces staring back at you and realise there is no connection. You suddenly realise more effort is required from yourself in terms of fleshing out your explanation, and that your sentences are not flowing together or even necessarily making that much sense! And worse of all, that your timing has now been completely thrown!

Sound familiar? Or perhaps you have been so fortunate as to not experience this … yet!

To avoid this scenario and to ensure that you always are able to communicate with a certain eloquent flow AND within the time constraints dictated, you simply have to practice your presentation out loud. Clicking through the slides on your laptop and visualising what it is you are going to say is absolutely no substitute for actually saying it. And when you practice out loud you can time yourself and make any necessary adjustments to the length of your presentation, perhaps you have to shed some slides, or flesh out your content more.

For more information on presenting like a pro, contact us at The Presentation Clinic on

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