Erica Marx

Time Hugger

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How to kindly let a speaker know their time is up


For use when speakers have a fixed amount of time to speak and must wrap up on time. Especially useful when people are giving short talks (e.g. 10 minutes). 

Prior to their talk make a plan with the speaker of how to let them know their time is coming to a close (e.g. hold up sign with how many minutes left, etc.). so they have the information they need to end their talk on time.

How it works

The time huggers start completely off stage and out of view until the designated time so the speaker has the opportunity to end their talk on time. Especially important if the talk is being recorded! Then when they are over time the time hugger(s) quietly comes onto stage so the audience and speaker sees them out of the corner of their eye and can wrap up before the time huggers reach them. Some speakers will keep talking anyway, so the time huggers reach them, embrace them, and slowly move them off stage (to applause). 

Online version

Some ideas to try out....

Join in spotlight - Bring up the timekeeper to be side by side with the speaker. This looks great to the audience but you need to make sure the speaker has side-by-side view on or they won't see the timekeeper.
Annotation - If the speaker is sharing slides, you can start annotating their slides with hearts and appreciative words (make sure annotation is turned on and Zoom hosts know how to control this)
Music - The Zoom host can quietly begin playing music that slowly gets louder. Lovely touch - ask each speaker which music they would like you to use. 

Other ideas?


Learned from others at the Applied Improvisation Network conference in Paris. 

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