Speaking Ideas – Plan to End

Over the years I’ve seen probably hundreds of technical presentations. I’ve seen good ones, bad ones, on all sorts of topics, many of which I didn’t completely understand. However a good speaker still leads me down the path of allowing me to connect the dots, or enjoy the talk, even if I don’t know exactly what he or she is discussing.
One issue that I often encounter, however, is that speakers tend to run up until time is out and don’t leave time for questions, or not enough time. I’ll see the next speaker coming in and waiting, and unsure of how to interrupt. Speakers get rushed, and they try to slip a lot of content in the last 5-10 minutes.
A suggestion that I have is that as a speaker, plan for 45-50 minutes of content for an hour presentation. I think the worry for most speakers is that people are expecting an hour of content and so you have to deliver an hour.
That’s not necessarily true. I know some people might be disappointed in 30 minutes of material, but if you end at 45 minutes and allow 15 minutes for questions, they’ll be satisfied. They’ll learn something, they can ask questions, and if there are no questions, they can go have a few minutes to relax, check email, or network with others before the next session.
Plan to end early. If you have too much material, look to cut things out, or build  a second, more advanced presentation that can follow on from this one.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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