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Quick Tip: Quit While You're Ahead
By Bill Wilson   Printer Friendly Version

I once saw a speaker with a 20-minute time slot finish after a 50-minute marathon. The speaker after him had his time cut by two-thirds and, needless to say, was very upset. The sad thing was that the "tardy" speaker did an excellent job...for 20 minutes. Going over your allocated time is one of the most common mistakes made by the truly "unprofessional" speaker...remember to ALWAYS finish on time. As Baron Leslie Hore-Belisha said, "To make a speech immortal, you don't have to make it everlasting."

When you are asked to speak to a group, invariably you'll be asked how much time you need. However, my experience has been that rarely will you actually have this much time, particularly if you're speaking at a luncheon or dinner before a civic, professional or trade group.

Be sure to ask at what time does the function usually end and at what time are you scheduled to speak. That way, if you start later than your scheduled time, you'll know how much of your presentation will have to be pared away in order to finish at the normal time. It is appropriate, if not done in a condescending way, to acknowledge that you are running behind schedule, but promise the audience that they will be on their way at the usual time. Believe me, they will LOVE you for it!

Copyright 1999-2000 by William C. Wilson, Jr.
All Rights Reserved.

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