Proper time management isn't just good for efficiency's sake. It can help you be successful, accomplish your goals, and not be insulting. That's a lot to put on being timely, but in certain circumstances, it's dead-on true.
Seth Godin wrote "Plan for the End" recently in an entry in his blog. By this he meant that almost always a presentation, meeting, or interview has a scheduled ending, and if you don't plan your time right, you risk missing the opportunity to convey your point.
Using a blown radio interview as an example, Seth shows how rambling on with a deadline rapidly approaching can cause you to miss your point and even be seen as an annoying person. Another example he used was presenters who "need" a few more minutes than they are allotted. Instead of trimming to be on time, they try to rush through the last of their presentation -- and more importantly -- their conclusion. Or they go long, waste their audience's time, and lose the audience's attention.
A good way to avoid all of this, of course, is to make sure to work within time constraints. Another way is a bit different: begin with your main point and work down from there. Seemingly, it's not as dramatic to not have a big finish, but what's wrong with a big beginning? And there's nothing stopping you from beginning and ending with the same point.
Starting big captures your audience's attention and they can follow you better as you present supporting ideas. Then, even with seconds left, you can summarize those ideas and proclaim your main idea again, coming full circle.
Posted by George Page, Communication Specialist