|Articles To help Project Leaders
November 2008 - Focus on Time
Pow'Rful Presentations is a relatively monthly investigation
of ideas, strategies and techniques to assist PowerPoint® Presenters
communicate clearly with audiences.
In my effort to please the widest range of readers and
knowing that adult learners acquire new skills in different
ways, you may find typographical or grammatical errors in
this newsletter. No need to point these out to me. Some
readers learn best by analyzing text for errors.
Also, depending on your background, and my South African
origins, you may find some of my spelling and grammar to be,
well let us just say "imaginative".
© Wayne Botha 2008
The quick and easy way to set milestones
Have you ever created a timeline for your speech? This is an
easy way to break down a longer presentation into discrete
chunks, with milestones marking your progression through
Create a Speech Timeline Tool for each presentation that is
longer than 15 minutes. For example, let's say that you have
agreed to present a 40 minute speech, starting at 10 AM.
Here are easy steps to make a Speech Timeline Tool for this
First, open MS-WORD and create a table with nine rows and
Second, make headings for the columns "Time", "Segment" and
Third, lay out the times in five minute increments for your
presentation. Starting at 10:03, (because presentations are
likely to start a few minutes late), make the next time
milestones at 10:08, 10:13, 10:18, and so on.
Then, make comments in the middle column indicating where
you expect to be in the presentation. For example, you will
open with a story, startling fact or interesting statistic.
Then sprinkle audience-engagement activities throughout the
presentation and make these comments in the middle column.
Finally, when you rehearse your presentation make additional
comments in the third column as you discover thoughts that
help you to create an enthralling experience.
You can write in your timing signals in this column, for
example, put in the word "Yellow" at 10:43 and "Red" at
10:48 so that your timer knows when to signal you that it is
time to wrap up the presentation.
You will find that this simple Speech Timeline Tool helps
you to think of a 40 minute presentation in small chunks of
five minute activities and stories. Then you can rehearse
the small chunks of the presentation as you find small bits
of time in the weeks leading up to your presentation.
Innovative time tips when you don't have a designated timer.
Do you lose track of time when you are presenting? Every
presenter is subject to going overtime and getting off
Going over time is an occupational hazard of public
speaking. I have seen experienced speakers, including
Distinguished Toastmasters completely ignore all timing
signals and blissfully sail way over the allotted time for a
The best way to keep on time, is to find a reliable person
to give you signals as listed on your Speech Timeline Tool.
In addition, I have found these techniques helpful to stay
Firstly, you can put a clock on the lectern. Keep it in your
pocket as you go forward to speak, and then put the clock on
the lectern, out of sight of your audience. I like analog
clocks so that I can see the hands on the clock easily, with
just a glance. I find that digital clocks are harder to
analyze and instantly realize how much time I have left for
Secondly, look around the room when you enter it. Are there
clocks on the wall of the meeting room that you can glance
at to keep your presentation on time? Free bonus hint. If
you see a clock on the wall, make sure that it is
functional, and accurate (Don't ask me how I came to learn
Finally, have your audience help you stay on track. Tell
your audience that you will handout a prize for the person
who interrupts you at 5 minutes and 32 minutes of your 40
minute presentation. Then, everyone in the audience will be
watching the time and at 5 minutes you hand out a prize when
the person interrupts you.
You can be sure that this will train the audience to make
sure you will know when you reach 32 minutes, and you can
start to wrap - up your presentation.
Tips for Toastmasters.
If you are in Toastmasters, then this tip will help you to
get more out of your journey.
This month sees the addition of a new segment in this
Newsletter - Tips for Toastmasters. This segment was born
out of the runaway success at the Fall 2008 District 53
Toastmasters conference where my free booklet "27 HUGE Ideas
for Toastmasters to do before they die" was scooped up
faster than free donuts at a police convention.
This month's tip to get the most out of your Toastmasters
Hold a special club meeting, where you require all
presentations to meet "Ignite" criteria. (Google
"Ignite" to find out more and see youtube examples).
Are you wondering what the criteria could be for an "Ignite"
presentation? Well, wonder no more.
"Ignite" presentations meet the following criteria: 20
PowerPoint slides, and each one automatically advances after
15 seconds, to give you a total presentation time of 5
PowerPoint training is essential in order for Toastmasters
to excel in today's business world and your members benefit
from events that expose members to PowerPoint presentation
styles like "Ignite".
So bring variety to your club meeting while making your club
members better business presenters, with an "Ignite"
My embarrassing moment of the week.
Although this is a relatively monthly newsletter, I seem to
generate enough embarrassing moments to fill a daily journal.
We fabulous wife and I were eating at friends. Amongst the
dishes on the table was a bowl with cooked mushrooms in an olive
oil based sauce. Mushrooms are one of my favorite sides and so I
helped myself to as large a helping as I could get away with,
stopping just short of being impolite.
I enjoyed eating mushrooms with everything on on my plate
and I rounded off the meal by eating a whole mushroom. Then
I asked our host for the recipe for the mushrooms. She burst
out laughing with a hearty "No - they are chunks of cooked
Needless to say, people kept their distance from me for a
Email me with
any questions that you have about presentations and I will
attempt to address them in a future newsletter.
More next time!