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Scary moments in Presentations


Happy Halloween. Fun scary days call for spooky stories…

In a dark room, a visage is backlit by a square projected light. Ghost-like and monochromatic the visage speaks, is he speaking directly you? Should you answer his indirect questions? No, the words are abstract and generic, almost as though he is reciting an old childhood adage he has recited over and over before he has brought them before you today.

The room begins to feel smaller, and time passes slowly as you hear rumbling from all corners of the room. You see heads bobbing around the room as exhaustion sets in. Checking your watch, you ask yourself, ‘have you really been here this long’? You start to realize that these presenters have kept you here for hours without a break, are they ever going to let you leave for lunch?

Time management is a real problem when it comes to presentations. This scary story is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend this week who was held in a room for four hours listening to presentations that were expected to conclude in two. By the second half of the presentation, anything the presenters had to say was being said to a grumpy, hungry crowd who felt their needs are disrespected. This isn’t a good situation for anyone in the room.

Going over or under time isn’t uncommon, trust me when I say that 30 minutes seems like a lot longer to speak than it is. Veteran facilitators learn a lot of tricks to manage time and read the group to avoid hostility. Practicing a presentation you create seems like the only obvious way to manage time, but there is more than one way to carve a pumpkin.

We have been talking about Soapbox a lot, and we should, it is really amazing. However, one thing we haven’t talked about enough is taking the guesswork out of timing. One of the few simple questions Soapbox asks is how much time you have to deliver your presentation. Once the simple form is filled out, Soapbox organizes a tested set of activities that fit within any allotted time that suits the needs of a presentation.

When we release Soapbox next week, you can see for yourself that it creates presentations that fit within the time constraints given, and even builds in breaks when appropriate. Doesn’t that sound nice, never having to uncomfortably shift in a chair wishing the person at the lectern was better prepared to engage their team at his team meeting concerning everyone’s time?


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