Presentations: Longer is Sometimes Not Better.

I had to deliver a keynote to a large group of business owners the other day. I was asked to compose a quick 6-8 minute talk — and if you know me, it's a VERY short time to talk. I used iWork Keynote with an LCD projector (all set up well ahead of time) — I felt each slide would add impact (see presentation here). As you can see — no bullets, bold statements — get in and get out.

As the meeting wore on, I realized we were running out of time. To add insult to injury, the speaker before me used ALL of his allotted time (plus some) — so I received a subtle prod from the vice president to severely cut down my time. Accomplished presenters run into this all the time — if you're last on the docket, you're usually asked to shorten your talk a bit.

So I did. I talked for a total of 3-4 minutes (a 50% reduction) with the same presentation.

Guess what? Major accolades from the entire audience. What did I do?

  1. I jumped up, grabbed my remote, dispersed with the bio about me, introduced myself, and started the talk.
  2. I kicked up my energy another 50% (on top of my usual 150% enthusiasm level). This is important.
  3. I moved around and used my hands to deliver each point.
  4. I interacted with the audience — I asked questions like, "Who going to try this?" They immediately raised their hands.
  5. I spoke a bit faster, but I added assertive emphasis to each of my points.
  6. No questions. There was no time.
  7. I closed within the 4 minute mark, thanked my audience, and sat down.

The room of 60+ people burst into applause. Longer is sometimes not better.


P.S. Has this ever happened to you? Let’s talk. I’ve coached thousands of executives step up their presentation game — call or email me to schedule a complimentary session.