How to finish an incomplete presentation in style

The Scenario

Yours is the fifth presentation in a conference. You have a one hour time slot. By the time your turn comes, things are severely delayed. Just before you go on stage, you are told that you have only 30 minutes. Your presentation is already copied to a common laptop which is on the podium. You have absolutely no chance of editing the presentation on time. You try to speed up the presentation initially, but soon, you will fall back to your regular speed.  You are doomed for an imcomplete presentation dilemma.

The Problem

You are half way through the presentation. The time allotted (which is now 30 minutes) is getting over. The organizers are showing you placards like 5 min, 3 min, 0 min, end now…

At this point you are really in a fix. The audience knows that you are nowhere near the end of the presentation. But you must finish you now. Otherwise some bouncer is going to take you off the stage in few minutes.

You also know that you have not done justice to the incomplete presentation. It is a hopeless situation. But you still want to salvage it in a professional and elegant manner.

How do you do that? .. THAT is the real problem. Read on to find out the solution to this problem.

The typical reaction

Most people would just stop midway and say something like “Due to shortage of time, I am compelled to end the presentation. I am available during the break. Let us interact offline.”

Another option is to press End key during the presentation. Now PowerPoint shows the last slide – which is usually a Thank You slide. The issue is, why will the audience want to thank YOU for an incomplete presentation?

Even if you have not thought about this scenario earlier, Microsoft has! In fact, they have already given you an elegant solution which will help you come out of this tricky situation in a highly professional manner.

The Solution

You know that even if you speed up, you cannot finish the entire content in half the time. Don’t worry. There is a solution available. When you go on the stage, go to Slide Sorter view quickly. Press End key. That will show you the last few slides. Look in reverse order and find a slide which summarizes the entire presentation. In this case it is the Summary slide. In your case, it may be some other slide – but you will usually find a similar slide.

Try to remember the number of that Summary slide. Repeat that number to yourself few times, or writer it down somewhere (your palm is often the best and the only option) or just type the number on your moble, dial and disconnect.

Now continue with the presentation as fast as you can. But dont worry about rushing it too much. When the organizers show you timeout messages, you still have few minutes to wind up.

This is the critical point during the presentation. Now, just type the slide number of the summar (or equivalent) slide you have already memorized. Press Enter.

That’s it. Now PowerPoint understands that clue and it will jump directlty to the summary slide. Now is the right time to quicly cover topics which you could not cover due to shortage of time. This way you can still end the presentation less abruptly and more professionally.

Try it out. Cheers.


Comments? Suggestions? Wish list?