Presentation Closing Clunker: How to Avoid Going Over Time

At an all-hands meeting for an organization’s sales force, I personally witnessed the regional manager take almost one hour to talk when he was scheduled on the agenda for 15 minutes. He totally destroyed the schedule for the meeting, and he ate into the next two presenters’ time.

Twenty years ago, I paid to attend a full-day seminar in Kansas City scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., and end at 4 p.m. The presenter was still going strong at 4:50—and even joked about having too much to say and not enough time to say it—but the audience (including me by this time) was getting antsy.

Unfortunately, this is a common tendency among many high-level executives. Some speakers just don’t know when to stop. Fortunately, this presentation problem is fixed with practice and planning—and of course, a little clock watching.

Two tips to curb long-windedness:

  • Have someone in the audience prompt you with a five-minute and a one-minute warning sign
  • Absolutely know the last words that will come out of your mouth

If you are given a set time frame in which to speak, end on time every time. Your audience will respect you more as a result, and to date, I’ve never heard of anyone complain about someone who gave a speech that was too short.



To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

Photo by Josh Newton on Unsplash