How to condense your presentation

Question Submitted from one of our members:

What should I do if I arrive for a meeting and my timeframe has been cut from one hour to 30 minutes?

Sheri’s Response: It’s very common to have your presentation time cut drastically. Here’s how you can cope and keep your cool:

1. Start by asking questions. State, “I understand we have 30 minutes and I want to make sure I cover the issues of most importance to you.” Ask, “What information do you need in order to move forward with a decision?”

2. Based on this information, edit quickly! First determine if you can take out individual slides, a section of information or entire portion of the presentation. Knowing that your time has been cut, you can acknowledge that you are removing a section and state that you will cover it at a later time.


Next, quickly review what you feel is vital information and present only the key points. You may consider leaving slides in the presentation but present only the high level information. Skip over some items, but acknowledge that you will reserve the detail for another time. This will leave the detail available if a question is asked, but keep things moving to fit their timeframe.


3. If feasible, present your conclusion first with some supporting information. Most presentations provide next steps at the end of the presentation. You do not want to run out of time and forgo this important information. By stating the conclusion first, you are making sure your recommendations and reason for presenting will not be overlooked or eliminated. Your willingness to address their needs in the time given will go a long way in getting approval.

Most meetings are overloaded with unnecessary information. Specific solution-oriented agendas are the ones that get approved!

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