My pet peeve as a former conference and event organiser is a presenter who does not speak to their allotted and agreed time. I have known many a speaker, watch draped over the lectern, me zipping my finger across my throat each time we made eye contact, continue on without any sign of chagrin, some 10 minutes-plus over time.
Four reasons why you SHOULD and COULD speak to time.
The audience are more inclined to absorb a speaker’s presentation if they run to time. Speakers who run over time are evaluated poorly by the audience, seemingly their frustration obstructs the quality of the message.
Consideration for others: Often one over-time speaker will cause a snowball effect with other speakers running late as they become stressed with the longer wait to ‘go on.’ Carefully timed agendas are disrupted. Refreshment breaks and meal service delayed.
Prepare & Rehearse: Speakers running overtime are slack. It comes down to preparation. You need to thoroughly rehearse and time your presentation. When rehearsing at home make sure that it comes in under the allotted time given by organisers. Because the performance you give at home is generally at a faster pace than the one you give on centre stage. Double check your itinerary and speaking notes or disc before leaving home. (I once had a keynote speaker who arrived with the wrong disc for his Powerpoint presentation and had to wing it which caused him to run horribly late.)
Want a repeat gig? Then speak to time. Be professional. Organisers of events and conferences hate their work to be compromised and will cross a tardy speaker off their talent list.