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Careful timing for a 2 hour jumpstart session - A picture is worth a thousand words

By Andrew Pollack on 01/24/2009 at 02:28 PM EST

Gab & I did our Jumpstart session on security again this year. We did it twice last Sunday. The jumpstart is 2 hours long and covers so much material that we really need at least 4 hours to cover it all. It took Gab and I several hours just to refine the topics and timing when we go together in early December to finalize it.

There's a technique I use when I'm presenting and I know other presenters use a similar tool to manage their delivery. We write down the time (not the number of minutes, but the actual clock time) of where we should be at key points in the presentation. For a one person presentation that goes an hour, its usually just the quarter and midpoints of the talk. I know just by looking at my watch -- which I keep next to the paper -- and I know at key places if I need to speed up or slow down. That's one way I come in within a minute or two of the right time.

I was unpacking today and decided to scan in this working sheet that Gab & I used to try very hard to close out our two hour security death march without going too far over. The point isn't to match the times at each step. Its simply to use those times to know how much more you planned to cover and how much time you've got to cover it. Literally, do I speed up or slow down as I'm talking.

It can also help for next time we give this session. We found that the first half has a few places that actually take longer to cover, while the second half has as many that don't take as long as we'd expected. We'll plan for that next time we do this one.

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