How to manage time when giving a presentation

Do you feel overwhelmed or confused on how to manage time when giving a presentation? Managing your time effectively is important. You have to know how much time you have to deliver your big ideas and how much time your audience is willing to listen. It’s important that you know how much time your presentation will take to deliver.

How do I know how much time my presentation will take?

An effective way to really know how much time your presentation will take is by rehearsing your presentation in front of a camera. It can be your smartphone or a DSLR that records you giving your presentation. A video tells you how long you are taking to giving your presentation along with an example of what you look and sound like. Were you given 10 minutes to present but your video rehearsal shows you taking 12 minutes? If that’s the case, start removing fluff from your presentation.

Fluff can come in many forms such as unnecessary graphics that don’t prove a point or sharing two more ideas than what was asked for. Always keep your main objective in mind. If the material you’ve presented doesn’t address your main objective then remove it from your presentation. Here are several questions that will help you recognize which parts you can remove:

  • Does this collection of data answer the questions of my audience? If the answer is yes then consider keeping it.
  • Can I explain each slide of my presentation in one to two sentences if I was short on time? If the answer to this question is no then focus on being more concise.
  • Does the story I’m telling illustrate the big idea of my presentation? If the answer to this question is no, what story can I use that best paints a memorable picture for the audience and helps communicate the big idea?
  • Review each slide in your presentation an ask yourself if you really need each slide? Are there any slides you can do without? If so, remove them from your presentation.

After eliminating fluff, rehearse your presentation again in front of a camera. Pay attention to the time difference and how much more smoothly you were able to stay focused and track with your presentation.


It’s time to deliver the speech you’ve been working on! Do you have a podium or a table that you’ll be using? Take off your watch and set it down in front of you. It’ll help you be more aware of time and how much of it you have. Judging time accurately will help you pace yourself throughout your speech and stay on track.

Managing time when giving a speech comes down to practicing on video, focusing on your speech’s objectives, and putting yourself in a position to judge the time.