People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint – Steve Jobs
Award-winning author and presentation expert Nancy Duarte has a new book out: HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. Over the next few days, I will be posting an outline of each of the book’s sections as well as zeroing in on a specific topic.
Section 4: Media
- Chose the right vehicle for your message – slide decks aren’t always the answer
- Make the most of slide software – it’s not just for slides
- Determine the right length for your presentation – keep your audience engaged by budgeting your time
- Persuade beyond the stage – communicate before, during, and after your presentation
- Share the stage – mixing in experts and media holds interest
Determining the Right Length for Your Presentation
What do all great presentations have in common?
It’s no secret that people value their time. People in your audience won’t scold you for ending early, but they will for ending late. Out of consideration for them and the day’s agenda, stick to the assigned time slot and treat it as sacred.
Doing that, however, is not so easy. It will cost you time to save the audience time. It’s relatively easy to ramble on for an hour or so; it’s really difficult to craft a tight, succinct 20-minute presentation.
Here are five ways to tighten your talk and keep your audience engaged:
- Plan content for 60% of your time slot – that will leave time for Q&A or some other form of discussion
- Trim your slide deck – put all the trimmed slides at the end of your presentation where they are available is needed on the fly
- Practice with a clock counting up – if you go over, you need to know how much you’re over
- Practice with a timer counting down – having set time marks at different places in your presentation gives you a running gauge throughout your talk
- Have two natural ending points – if you’re running long, you can drop the second ending and still get your message across
This is Part 5 of a series looking at Nancy Duarte’s new book HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, highly recommended for all leaders.