One weird tip to having every meeting end punctually! It involves sharks, though.

by worstideas

TITLE: One weird tip to having every meeting end punctually! It involves sharks, though.


People giving presentations are famous for going over their allotted time. However, presentations are frequently unmoderated or have a lax moderator, leading to time overages being the norm rather than the exception.


An automated system that made the presentation stage increasingly unpleasant as the presenter reached (and went past) their assigned time would greatly improve efficiency both at conferences and in college lecture halls.

Specifically, the proposal is as follows:

  • The lecture stand is in a small sunken area of the stage (or surrounded by small walls). This area is also connected up to a large tank of water by a pipe (see figure 1, tank is on right hand side).
  • As the lecturer goes over time, water is pumped into the lecture stand area, gradually increasing the water level until the presenter is knee-deep (or neck-deep) in water.
  • This will encourage the presenter to quickly wrap things up, instead of going over time with no consequences.


Fig 1: Orange / red: lecture stand with laptop. The lecture area is surrounded by a low transparent wall. Right: a tank of water is connected to the lecture stand area, allowing water to gradually be pumped in to encourage the presenter to wrap up their talk.


Fig 2: An alternative arrangement, where the lecture area (B, C) is slowly lowered into an ever-present aquarium (D) by a system of overhead cables on winches (A). The audience sits in the seats marked at E.


Fig 3: Some presenters may not be fazed by mere water; in these cases, we might want to introduce denizens of the deep to also encourage the presenter to finish their talk. Pictured: a rare purple octopus and extremely lethargic shark.

PROS: Saves many hours of time for college students and professionals in various fields. Encourages presentation discipline for both the talk and any subsequent Q&A sessions.

CONS: Would probably exacerbate any existing “stage fright” due to the presence of deadly animals. Presenters with rivals in the audience may find their talk extended by irrelevant questions as their foes attempt to cause them to descend into the aquarium with an over-long talk.