If you do presentations on a regular basis then you have surely had this experience. You are the last speaker of the day and every other presenter has gone overtime. By the way, this is a heinous crime in the public speaking world. Out of the corner of your eye you see the organizer approaching with a stealth-like stride. Your inner voice shouts, “Oh No!”, as your body goes tense. Sure enough, you are asked to cut your 30-minute presentation, which you worked so long and hard to prepare, down to 15 minutes. Your mind races as your slide deck flashes before your eyes. What slides should I cut? What stories should I keep? Shall I speak double time?
Spare yourself this anxiety and prepare a Plan B and possibly Plan C. Practice these abbreviated versions as you would your full presentation. You can help the situation by limiting the number of slides and number of bullets. You can always expand when time allows. Not every idea has to be displayed in your slide show.
To determine how to make the edits consider these three questions:
1. What is the most relevant content for this audience?
2. What is the most compelling information?
3. What are the most compact stories and examples?
(Choose stories and examples that require minimal set up and narrative.)