Stay Within Your Time
About thirty minutes before I
began writing this section, I received a phone call
from a friend who was scheduled to give a
presentation that very evening. She asked me for
some input on a few things. She shared with me that
she’d been allocated five minutes for her
presentation, but planned to “hijack” more time. I
strongly advised against it, and I hope she heeded
my advice. You’ll have to buy the next book to find
out if she did or not.
In late 2007, my wife,
Sharon, and I held a seminar. As part of our
session, we invited two guest speakers, both of them
Before the event, I spoke directly with each of
them, and we discussed their allotment of time, and
their main topics. We reached an agreement on
topics, and on a fifteen-minute time limit. We
planned our session, in significant part, around the
agreed-upon topics and time limits.
During the session, the time came up for the first
guest speaker to take the stage. His presentation
was outstanding! As he presented, I sat off to one
side of the platform, beside his laptop computer. He
had to walk over to the computer many times, in
order to advance his slides.
After his allotted fifteen minutes, there was no
sign of his presentation coming near an end. After
twenty minutes had passed, I flagged him down when
he walked over to advance his slides. “Hey Doc, you
have to wrap it up,” I told him. He didn’t, and I
signaled for him to end about a dozen times.
After forty-five minutes, he finally ended his
presentation, so I walked out onto the stage and
politely thanked him. For the past half-hour, the
second guest speaker had been standing there, ready
to present, but his allotted time was already long
gone as well.
felt that we had to honor our invitation to the
second guest speaker, so I introduced him, and
welcomed him to the stage. He, too, had agreed on a
fifteen minute maximum, but took a full thirty
minutes to complete his presentation.
net result was that we weren’t able to include all
of the information we’d planned for the seminar. The
complete second half of our seminar was destroyed,
because we weren’t able to squeeze it all in.
learned two important lessons that day. The first
lesson was that I won’t allow a guest speaker to
hijack my meetings again. The next time, I’ll walk
right out onto the stage if I must, and wrap their
presentation up for them. The second lesson I
learned was that I’ll never do that to anyone else.
Never will I run overtime in a presentation. It’s
disrespectful to the organizers, to all of the other
speakers who must follow, and to the audience.
what’s the lesson? Be respectful; always stay within
your allocated time limit.