Have you ever sat through a conference which seems to be getting later and later? Have you found yourself surreptitiously checking your watch and wondering just how long this was going to go on for?
Then you were the victim of a speaker’s lack of respect for Timing.
It doesn’t matter what our speech is about, or what our presentation is designed to do; we will all have a specific time in which to complete it. Even the best man’s speech at the wedding will be required to fit into the wider scheme of things. We speak to a time – but some people seem to forget that.
By taking up more time than we were allowed we show a lack of respect for others.
We ignore the needs of the audience, especially when we should have spoken for 20 minutes and take up to 45 minutes. We ignore the concerns of the organisers who are probably working to a strict time-table and we ignore the expectations of other speakers who may now have to seriously curtail their speech to bring the event back on track.
In short – you would not be popular!!
Running over time means that you have not properly prepared your speech; and have not rehearsed it adequately. When we have a speaking engagement we need to know who the audience is, where we are speaking and for how long. It is part of our brief. So if we know how long we have been given on the agenda or the programme then we have duty to conform to that.
Sometimes we have so much information that we wish to share with our audience that we try to cram it all in at once; this will not only confuse our listeners but will inevitably lead to running over time. Careful organisation and selection of material should allow us to complete our message without this happening.
We need to practice in conditions as close to reality as possible. The fact is that speeches rehearsed in isolation can appear to come in on time, but as soon as we present them in public something amazing happens – time shrinks!
Audiences react to us in many ways, and we can interact with them – and it all takes up time. So if we have not taken that into account, even if we have prepared, practiced and rehearsed we will have to talk over audience’s laughter and ignore puzzled looks if we are to bring it in on time.
The best solution is to prepare a speech that goes under time. How long under depends on the actual length required. For instance for a ten minute speech I prepare for no more than eight; for twenty not more than fifteen and for one hour never any more than 45 – 50 minutes.
This ensures that I have the time to interact with the audience, and still maintain the integrity of the time table.
Speakers that consistently go over time do not get invited back; so take that extra step and with all your other care and concern about your speeches make absolutely sure that you are being respectful of the rights of the audience, the organisers and the other speakers.
That way we can all enjoy a refreshing drink at the bar before it closes.
Michele @ Trischel