What to do when your presentation time is cut short?

Last night during my class students were to present an assignment to the class. Each group had 10-20 minutes to present. Since I was not really paying attention to the time per se for this assignment (I know my bad), I did not stop the first two groups from going 30 then 40 minutes. After the 2nd group had finished I realized that we had just over an hour for 4 groups to present. This meant each remaining group would have roughly 15 minutes, which should be ok considering last week they each thought 10 minutes was too much and were nervous about making that time. So here is what I observed during that hour: The first two groups who had a minimum of 15 minutes each presented their normal presentation. I gave them a 3 minute and 1 minute warning and then had to stop them in the middle of their presentations. The 2nd two groups sped up their presentations cutting out some things but making sure to cover all of the points. So..

Which strategy was more effective? What should you do as a presenter in this situation?

Well first of all, when you get cut short at the last minute, which does happen at conferences and many professional presentations, make sure you adjust. Dont just stop in the middle of your presentation. Make sure you hit all of your major take home points. Cut out things that might have taken a little longer than normal, like viewing a video or external link. Let your audience know that they can view it after the presentation and offer the link. When you hear that 5 minute or 1 minute warning, wrap up. Give everyone your take home points, don’t just continue only to be stopped. When you are stopped in the middle of an idea the audience will remember you were stopped, that is what will stand out.

I hope that helps. Just an example from earlier this year, during my students presentation at the AECT conference for the Pacific Corp competition, they found out at the last minute that they had 15 minutes to present instead of 20. So this does happen and happens quite often. Needless to say they did cut their presentation and still ended up winning the competition!