Keep calm and remain professional. Instead of brooding over a situation you have no control over, start thinking immediately on what elements of your speech you are going to remove. It is advisable to skip the graphs, tables, examples and stories. However, make sure to keep your opening and closing statements and key points that are essential for the audience to know.
When making your hasty decision to cut and edit, be sure to ask yourself these crucial questions:
1. What is the initial message I am trying to give my audience?
2. What are the key points I want them to remember?
3. If it is a call to action type speech, was I clear on asking them to make a decision?
4. If I could sum up my speech in one sentence, what would it be?
Another important factor is to try not to rush and speak fasterthan usual. Speaking faster may allow you to get more information in, but it will also be sure to lose your audiences focus and attention. The human mind can only retain so much information at a certain pace. If you increase this pace your important messages will be not be remembered. Also, be sure to place the number of the slide you want to forward to and click enter, instead of rushing through all of them during your presentation.
Lastly, if a Q & A session was scheduled during your speech keep in mind that this will not likely happen. At the end of your speech provide your contact information and kindly ask your audience to contact you via your social media if they have any specific questions.
Keep in mind that you may face any situation that can affect your speech and what is pivotal is to be ready and prepared at all moments. Always have a backup plan and who knows, if you were able to do this successfully, no one may have even noticed that your speech was shortened!
Karyn Suárez is an Executive Coach and Public Speaking and Communication Trainer. She works with multinational companies in Spain and the USA helping executives and students to improve their public speaking and communication skills both in Spanish and in English.