Tip #11: Recover to time subtly

Tip 11: Recover to time subtly.

Let’s imagine you are failing to stick to your time limit. Perhaps you’re 8 minutes into a 15 minute pitch but only 25% through your pitch. What can you do?

While there is never any excuse for running out of time, there are ways to recover - and some of them can even work to your advantage.

First though, something to avoid: if you are getting behind, the worst thing you can do is say “I’m getting behind so I’ll have to speed up here.” You are wasting time saying that and highlighting that you are losing control – something probably most members of the audience probably hadn’t even realized yet!

“Speeding up” appears to be the favorite “solution” – but this only makes things worse. It’s hard enough to deliver effective pitches a 1.0x speed; it’s impossible at 1.5x speed.

Instead, cut some content from the slides coming up, and quietly get back on track. This is obviously easier said than done – but it’s also much easier done if you’ve practiced this pitch many times. Have two “initial customers” on the next slide, or two team members on the team slide, or three exit strategy channels on your exit slide? Only give detail orally about the most important then you're back on track.