We started out well enough. Our first speaker briefly introduced Japan and the major events in the 17th century; the second speaker (the girl who made the PowerPoint presentation) talked for about five minutes about Japanese painting, which was a little long but not too bad. Trouble hit when the third speaker stepped up to talk about Japanese religion. He rambled on for over twenty minutes. I know what you're thinking - why didn't we, members of his group, cut him off or speed him up? Unfortunately for us, this guy was incredibly nervous. I could literally see him shaking, and his talk was filled with large gasps of air and pauses as he struggled to continue through his speech. I didn't want to stop him because I was afraid he'd just faint or fall apart, but the whole time I was cursing that we hadn't done a practice run at the library.
You'd think that the speaker after him would think, "Crap. We are officially over our time limit, so every minute we speak is going to hurt our grade. I'd better speed through this.", right? No. She was talking about Japanese castles, and spend another good ten to fifteen minutes going over the minute details of architecture. I kept thinking, <I>You could have cut that. And that. And that - for crying out loud, look at your audience, man! They're bored stiff!!! There are still two of us to follow after you!</i>
Thankfully, the fourth speaker's presentation was relatively brief, and when I concluded the presentation I sped through it as quickly as I could, presenting the minimum amount of information for each slide because I could see that everyone in the audience had clocked out. (Understandable! - We were half an hour over the maximum amount of time.) I did my best, but in the end our presentation clocked in at nearly an hour in length.
Unfortunately - and not to toot my own horn - my section was the most important, since I talked about the cross-cultural influences of Japan and Europe in the 17th century, so my job was to prove the relevance of all the information dumped on our listeners by the previous four speakers. I'm not sure how well it worked out, and I doubt the audience retained much of the information we gave them.
I just hope the teacher doesn't mark us down too much for our inability to cull information and time ourselves appropriately. I mean, I practiced my segment of the presentation at home in order to make sure I was down to four minutes - why oh WHY didn't my group mates do the same???