Dixie Darr

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2006 at 9:16 am

Talking Points Part III

“Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand”. ~Author Unknown

The very worst thing you can do when giving a presentation is also the one thing you are most likely to do: talk too long. Beginning speakers almost always think that the problem will be talking long enough to meet the minimum requirement, but they usually talk too long instead. I know you don’t believe this will happen to you, so you will just have to take my word for it.

When you are speaking in front of a group, you are in some weird kind of time warp. The first time I gave what was supposed to be a 10-minute presentation in a college class, I was mortified to discover that I spoke instead for 30 full minutes. The teacher wasn’t very happy, and your audiences won’t be either if you go on and on. Even if you time your speech as you are practicing (and you should definitely do that) you also need to time it as you are giving it.

This is one more thing to pay attention to when you are already nervous about remembering everything you want to say and not making a fool of yourself as you do it. However, it is absolutely essential. Get a small timer to place on the lectern with your notes. Mark your notes with times when you should reach that part and check the timer to make sure you are on track.

Remember the Gettysburg address was only two minutes and 269 words long. It is considered the best speech every given by an American. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech lasted just over five minutes. You should do so well. Cut out everything extraneous, even if you think it’s fascinating. Your audience will appreciate your brevity.

©2006 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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