How many times after giving a presentation did you feel like you just did not have enough time to cover everything you wanted to? How many times have you had to cut some important points from your presentation because you knew you would overshoot the time limit otherwise? Or how many times have you finished a little sooner than you anticipated and were then left wondering about what else you could say with the remaining time? Everyone who has ever had to give presentations has experienced this one time or another in their lives.
There are numerous time management tools available on the market and almost all of them deal with managing your time on a personal level or professional level insofar as you need to prepare for something. But what do you do once it is time to actually deliver? More often than not when we think of pacing our presentations before an audience, we tend to think that it has to do with the speed at which we talk. But there is more to pacing one’s presentation than simply the number of words that can fly out of your mouth in a minute. In this article we will look at three aspects of that vitally important skill that has to do with your audience as much as it has to do with you giving the presentation:
Speed of Delivery
The first point is the most obvious one – the speed at which the presenter actually speaks. Despite what many time management exercises teach, some people are naturally fast speakers or they speak fast to counter their own nervousness. This is neither helpful to the speaker nor his or her audience. The human brain has a certain speed at which it can process spoke words and if bogged down by a fast flurry of content, tends to refocus on understanding the meaning of every word spoken instead of the larger context of the subject against which the words fit into.
Audience Can’t Keep Up
Sometimes even if the speaker paces his words slow enough, the audience may still struggle to keep along because of the incredible number of topic shifts and subjects that the presenter keeps jumping to. So while the actual words and phrases might not be coming at a fast pace, the transition between subjects or topics certainly is changing at break neck speed and the audience starts lagging behind. This is an equally important aspect of pacing one’s presentation.
Objective of The Presentation is Unclear
Sometimes a third problem can arise out of the combination of the above two problems – the audience is unclear about the presenter’s goal or where the point of his presentation is headed. This can also make the audience feel like they are in the dark about where this presentation is headed or what the presenter’s agenda is at the moment. On the contrary, a good litmus test to know if you are pacing your presentation well is if the audience is able to track with your lecture and able to keep along with the context of everything being said. This is better than any time management tools or techniques.
Time Management Training is an important aspect of providing employees with the right tools necessary to manage and pace themselves well in all aspects of their professional lives. For more information on this please refer to the following article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/06/19/the-only-way-to-prepare-to-give-a-presentation/