Tip #505: Handling Delays That Impact a Series of Presenters

“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal.”  Mario Andretti

How do you handle it when unexpected delays or interruptions adversely impact the starting time for a presenter who will be immediately followed by other presenters?

This is not a new issue. Trainers and presenters at conferences or programs that involve multiple presenters are frequently faced with this challenge.

If the delay occurs at the very beginning of the program, you might be able to simply move back the beginning and ending times for all of the subsequent presenters. However, that will not be a viable solution if the program has a set meal time and ending time.

So, what can you really do in this situation? One option is to have the first presenter begin late but end at the scheduled ending time. This way, the other presenters can have their allotted times.

Another option is to reduce all of the presenters’ time frames. This way, a delay of 15 or 20 minutes can be made up by reducing all of the presenters’ sessions by 5 minutes or less.

If at all possible, this is clearly the most equitable way to manage the time loss. But if the presenters are busy people who have obligations before and after their scheduled times, this will not work.

In certain cases, a third option is to severely curtail or entirely eliminate a section, if the presenter is amenable and the section content is not critical and/or can be provided in written handout materials.

There is no perfect solution that will satisfy all conditions.

Whatever option is chosen, it is essential that the presenters be immediately told which option will be used. Then they can adapt to the new time frame and pace their presentations accordingly to ensure that they complete all essential content and activities within the available time.

May your learning be sweet.


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