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#419: Always Have a Streamlined Version of Your Briefing

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, October 21, 2010
Occasionally I am presenting to a client and, due to some longwinded prior presentation, I am left with 45 minutes for my 90 minute time slot. I don't want to talk twice as fast or cut out important findings. Should I just ask to reschedule or is there another approach?

Unfortunately, this happens to many of us. One of the first rules of consulting is to "always have a five-minute version" of every presentation. Unfortunately, when presenting to a board, for example, you may not be the main event and other issues can run long. If you know your material well enough, you can easily skip a few slides here and there and advise the audience you are doing this due to lack of time.

Any presentation can be shortened. Years ago I went skydiving, waking up at 5am to drive to the airfield and go through 4 hours of classroom and physical training so we would be thoroughly prepared for all contingencies. When we got out to the plane, the instructor yelled over the roar of the engine, "You are all so excited that you have forgotten everything we talked about today so you just need to remember three things" (one of which was to smile). It actually did work out fine based on the shorter instructional version.

Tip: If you are concerned about this, request that your client schedule you first (or early), make clear that you need the full planned time or would prefer to reschedule, or prepare a short and long presentation (advising the client that they are paying for two versions). Ultimately, management of time available for your presentation is grounded in your client's respect for your time - and you. If these exist, you are unlikely to face a short time slot.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  meeting preparation  planning  presentations  speaking  teaching/training 

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