How much time should I expect to 'leave' at the end of a conference presentation for questions? This question suggests to allocate 2-3 minutes per slide, including front/back matter (like a question slide). Does this mean I should leave 2-3 minutes for every 15 minutes of presentation delivered? Is there a good 'rule of thumb' for this?

  • 5
    There is no "correct" answer to this. Just ask the session moderator what they recommend and follow that.
    – eykanal
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 21:33
  • And even that may chance sometimes. In more "relaxed" conferences, the chair might let you use a bit more time if previous presenters were too quick. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


The only rule of thumb I'm familiar with is a bit like this, keeping in mind that some of the additional time may serve as buffer in case there are questions during the talk:

  • For talks of or less than 30 minutes total, include no less than 5 and no more than 10 minutes for questions.
  • For talks between 30 and 60 minutes, include no less than 10 and no more than 15 minutes for questions.

So that essentially means at least 5 minutes for each half hour (not too far off from your estimates).

For longer talks, there never seems to be enough time for questions, so I would suspect there isn't one rule for all situations.

  • Good answer. Better to choose a number based on the length of the talk than on the number of slides. Some slides are dense, some are dynamic and get flipped through quickly. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:43
  • 2
    Rarely (never?) does an audience complain that the presentation ended too early. (Particularly at a conference when it can be hard to stay on schedule in the first place and is running late)
    – Carol
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 15:21

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