It’s the only cardinal rule of presenting. And doing THIS has the potential of ruining a great presentation.

It’s going OVER. When your allotted time is up, you need to be done. Nothing is more egregious than stealing time from the audience.

There is rarely, if ever, an excuse for going over the presentation time you’ve been allotted. 

It doesn’t matter why. There are NO excuses:

– It doesn’t matter if you started late.

– It doesn’t matter if you have more content to share.

– It doesn’t matter if someone or something hijacked your presentation.

Unfortunately there’s no Academy Awards music to play you off when your time is up. You can always finish early, but you should never go over. Of course, that means you, the presenter, need to know the time. 

In “Silver Goldfish” Alan Hoffler and I share four hacks to help you adhere to the Cardinal Rule of timing:

1. There is an app for that. Get a timer for your phone, watch, or tablet that vibrates.

2. Go analog. Have someone at the back of the room with three signs or hand gestures: 5 (minutes), 2 (minutes), and a big fat zero (STOP!).

3. Click it. Buy a clicker that has a timer built-in.

4. If you have slides, use presenter mode on your laptop. Presenter mode has a clock.

What’s your hack?

Takeaway – The key to life, to humor, and to finishing presentations is…


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Stan Phelps