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
    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. 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. 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
    Mar 7, 2017 at 15:21

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