3 Strategies for Presenting When Your Time Is Cut Short

One of the most common—and unpleasant—surprises you can face as a presenter is having your time cut short. Maybe there’s a technical issue that causes a delay, or maybe the previous speaker(s) ran long. How can you still nail your presentation when you have less time than you expected? Keep these three strategies in your back pocket.

  • Come prepared with two versions of your presentation. Create a full-length slide deck and a short, backup one—and practice delivering both from start to finish. If you have to go with the shorter one because of an unforeseen time constraint, be sure to let your listeners know that you’ll provide additional context after the meeting.
  • Deliver the headlines. Don’t just write bland headers for each slide; instead, write complete, descriptive headlines that tell the story. For example, rather than titling your slide “Economic Outlook for 2023,” write “Economic Outlook for 2023 Is Optimistic.” This small tweak will highlight the important, bottom-line information up top, making it easier to go through your presentation quickly in a pinch.
  • Don’t apologize, throw your colleagues under the bus, or sulk. Act like this is exactly the version you’d always planned to present all along. If you do, it’s highly likely that your audience won’t be able to tell the difference.

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