Squeezing the last minute out of a session

Seth Godin is the author of several books about “marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect”. They are bestsellers. His blog is one of my favourites and I highly recommend it.

In this blog post from 21 February 2017, Seth reminds us that less is more and that conclusions are important. Plan appropriately so that you are not racing to cover material right up to the end of your allotted time.

You want to end on a strong note and with conviction. It’s hard to do when you are pressed for time. As I frequently tell my clients, there’s a big difference between finishing a presentation a few minutes early and finishing it a few minutes late.


Squeezing the last minute out of a session

by Seth Godin

It’s too late now.

If you’re the moderator of a panel and you want to rush through one more question …

Or if you’re the speaker and you need to race through three more slides …

Or if you’re a writer or designer and want to add just one more idea …

Or if you’re the teacher and there’s just one more concept to talk about even though the bell’s about to ring.

Too late.

End with a pause.

End with confidence and calm and yes, please respect your audience enough to not expect that cramming is going to help us or you.

No one, not once in the history of timers, has ever said, “I’m really glad that they went over by 30 seconds, huffing and puffing and begging for attention. That was the best part, and I respect them for cramming it all in.”


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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2 Responses to Squeezing the last minute out of a session

  1. Great advice. Rushing to finish leaves such a bad impression, so the audience won’t want to act on the speaker’s call-to-action. What a wasted opportunity that is.

    If you use PowerPoint, you might like this post I wrote about a little-known feature that lets you plan for, and recover from, running short of time. The audience will be none the wiser, and you’ll be the star of the show!

    (To date there are 16 comments, like from public-speaking bloggers Kelly Vandever and Rob Biesenbach.)

    • John Zimmer says:

      That is a very useful tip, Craig. I have never used that feature before, mainly because I use Keynote. I will see if Keynote has something similar.

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