1. Tell the audience something it doesn’t know, but don’t tell it everything you know. Audiences love to learn a little insider knowledge, or a factoid that adds a bit of depth and complexity to a well-known story. But we only crave a little extra knowledge. Too many speakers dump way too much information on the audience. Restraint is key.
2. Keep track of where you are. One of the kindest things you can do as a speaker for an audience is to let it know where you are in the presentation. Number your points. Tell the audience what it is in for. Make your progress clear.
3. Finish two minutes early. The key to finishing on time is rehearsal. Only with a real rehearsal can you know precisely where you are in the presentation and how long it will take. As the old saying has it, no one ever hoped that a speech would go longer. But you also don’t want to undershoot in a big way.
(1) Re. “Tell the audience something it doesn’t know, but don’t tell it everything you know” — I love this advice. It seems obvious, but it addresses our insecurity of wanting to prove ourselves by showing how much we know.
(2) Re. “Keep track of where you are” — Audiences usually know how long a presentation is supposed to last. If that’s not the case, make sure you tell your audience up front how long your talk will be. Same applies to meetings and phone calls. An easy way to do this: “My time frame for this presentation / meeting is 45 minutes. Does that work for you?”
(3) Re. “Don’t tell your audience everything you know” — cf. How to keep presentations tight.