Presenting traps to avoid – Trap no. 5 Running over time

Always. Always. always finish on time. If you go over time, you are being disrespectful to the:

  • audience and their time;
  • chairperson and his or her time;
  • conference organiser’s time; and
  • speakers who are coming after you, as they will either have to cut their presentations short or start late. People appreciate you finishing on time or even 2 or 3 minutes early.


To help you finish on time:

  • Work out how many slides you have;
  • How long you will speak about each slide;
  • Then divide your time between your slides (remembering that some slides won’t take as long and some will take longer); and
  • Write the time you should be at each slide at the top right hand side on the notes page for each slide. This lets you know on the way through how you are going with time. If you find that you are in front, you can slow down and take a little extra time on some explanations. If you find that you are behind, start mentally calculating which bits of what you planned to talk about you will have to leave out.