Tips on how to handle long presentations

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‘How long is this going to take?’ – a question that races through the audiences mind before the actual presentation starts.                                                                                                                                                                                                  The shorter your presentation, the better because after the one hour mark you can be sure that half your audience will tune you out.

  • Audiences complain when presentations take longer than promised but are delighted when it ends early. You can always request for more time to complete your presentation- thus if it exceeds your time it won’t matter and if it ends early your audience will be thankful.
  • Always try and stick with the time frame you have and end your presentation when it’s time to. You may need to skip some slides but this way your audience will come to respect you more as a speaker.


  • If you are short on time and extending your presentation is not an option split it into 2 sessions.


  • If your presentation contains complex information which cannot be explained within the given timeframe hand out leaflets with necessary terminology and information that the audience can refer to.


  • Information booklets or summaries can be handed out at the end so that you refrain from distracting your audience while you are presenting your PowerPoint, therefore saving time.


  • Make a list of the essential points that have to be covered no matter what. Then you can omit the slides which are not as important when you’re in a time crunch.


  • Even if important key audience members are late, start your presentation on time. When they arrive you can summarise your previous points and proceed with your presentation.


  • Do not overload your audience with the detailed information, limit it. The surplus of information could blur together and confuse your audience.


  • If the time for your presentation is up but there are audience members who need you to answer questions, allow those who are not interested or have other more important priorities to leave.


  • Working within your time frame creates the impression of you being honest, committed and credible. Make sure you end your presentation on time.