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How to talk to time and NOT too much!
July 30, 2020
In this Issue
Yakety-yak! Talking too much - Is that you?
Who has been to a wedding, a conference, or a meeting where there was a speaker who did not know when to stop talking?
Just when they seemed like they were about to wind down, they took one more big deep breath. And then there was more yakety-yak blah, blah.
Meanwhile there are all the tell-tale signs of an audience getting restless; people suppressing yawns, fidgeting, shuffling feet, glancing at wrist watches, covertly checking their phone for messages, rolling eyeballs ...
From hero to zero
The worst part, if you're the speaker and even fractionally aware of the impact you're having, is realizing you've robbed yourself and your listeners. You've compromised the opportunity you had to get your message across.
Your audience stopped listening several minutes back and is now resentfully plotting about how to get you to stop talking without being out-rightly rude.
Is this familiar territory?
I can tell you it does not feel good.
Gulp. Confession time. Sometimes that person has been me.
Here are the "fixes". I'm still learning, but much less frequently than in the past, the hard way. (The links go to pages with more information on my site.)
Decide on your speech purpose - if the principal purpose is clear, and you know your audience, it is easier to decide and order the key points you want to cover.
Plan and outline the speech - shape it to fit the speaking time you've been allotted. Do not be tempted to try and squeeze in a couple of extra irresistible interesting examples. Go with the strongest material you have.
Rehearse - Only rehearsal let's you know how long it takes to go through your material. You'll need at least four to get to know the flow of speech. The more you know it, the more fluent you'll be and there'll be less 'um' and 'err' time, as well as less temptation to wander off track.
If you have an opportunity to rehearse in front of an audience before you deliver the speech 'for real' take it.
An audience responds and those responses need to be factored in to the overall length of your speech. If you're waiting for laughter to subside or, adding verbal asides, they take time!
Resist winging it - as in talking off the cuff without any preparation. It can be dangerous because it may lead to waffling irrelevancies. If you're asked to comment and you do not have pertinent things to say, say so without hesitation or deviation.
Yay, they love me!
The results of sticking to time:
If you're finding yourself on the wrong side of clock consistently do check out these pages:
The goal as Dorothy Sarnoff (1914-2008) said is to “Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”
See a completed demonstration speech outline, read all sorts of speech examples
Where ever you are I hope you and yours are well. Stay safe, stay sane and stay put. This too, will pass.
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Until next time,
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