Start and Stop Times
by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP

What would you do if you’ve been allotted 60 minutes for your speech, and the speaker ahead of you goes over by thirty minutes?  Or your client asks you, “Can you wrap it up in thirty minutes?”  You’d better be able to deliver!  Here are some pointers:

  1. Have a printout of your PowerPoint slides, so you can skip or hide slides you won’t get to.  You don’t want to find yourself rushing through your last ten slides.  If you provide material in a participant workbook but don’t cover it, participants feel slighted.  Better to give less information and provide extra content if you have time. 
  2. Stop on time.  Period.  No matter how late you started.  Ending late shows a lack of respect for your audience, and you are sure to annoy your meeting planner.  Know exactly how long your close will take, and practice jumping to it from different parts of your speech. 
  3. Prepare several different versions of varying length and be able to drop a story or exercise and substitute a pithy quote instead. 
  4. If you say, “In conclusion,” you have about 30 seconds to wrap up, so don’t launch into a seven-minute story.  Tell the story first, and then bring your comments to a snappy close, without dragging it out.


© 2010 Laura Stack. Laura Stack has consulted with Fortune 500 corporations for nearly 20 years in the field of personal productivity and is the bestselling author of several books, including SUPERCOMPETENT.  Laura is the 2011-2012 President of the National Speakers Association (NSA).  She has been awarded the Certified Speaking Professional (or CSP), the highest earned designation for speakers. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  Her productivity-improvement programs have been used worldwide at companies such as Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, and Bank of America.  Laura has been a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, Xerox, and Office Depot, and she is the creator of The Productivity Pro® planner by Day-Timer.  To have Laura speak at your next event, visit For more information on NSA, go to

 This article originally appeared in training magazine. The original article can be viewed here.

Explore posts in the same categories: SuperCompetent Speaking


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