Have you ever lost track of time in running a workshop? A bit embarrassing to eat into the participants’ break time. Unfortunately it happened to me recently, and fortunately the incident prompts me to address it. So what are some effective and seamless ways to do so without alerting the participants?
Tip 1: Have a printout of the workshop schedule. I made this one after my workshop as a reminder that I should do so for all future workshops. Big font size so it is easy to read.
Tip 2: Have a desk clock. Make sure you can see it from a distance. I also put color sticker around the clock for each section, for example, for a 9-10 am presentation with three parts: 20, 15 and 15 minutes respectively, I would put a green sticker at 10:20, yellow at 10:35 and red at 10:50.
Tip 3: Set silent alerts on your smart watch. Many people have a smart watch nowadays and it is very discreet to set vibrate alerts using it. None of the audience will notice that there are only 5 minutes left in the presentation, except for yourself.
Having shared my tips, these are some well-known tricks that I do NOT use personally and my reasoning:
An assistant with timing cards. It would distract at least one participant from paying full attention to the presentation. In addition, you have to coordinate with another person and that person may forget if they get absorbed into your presentation (which is a good thing!).
PowePoint timing display. I often set the presentation in presentation mode at least 10 minutes before my presentation to build anticipation, so the timing is already off. Plus, I often stand too far away from the laptop to see the darn thing.
Have fun tracking your presentation time and make the most of it. Do let me know if you have any of your own tricks – I will always have a few minutes for those! 🙂