Let me know if this has ever happened to you: you’re listening to someone give a speech. You know they have 10 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, you are wondering what the point is, and how will they provide the information you are there to get. At the 9 minute mark, they exclaim in great surprise, “OH, I’m almost out of time, boy that sure went fast! I guess I’d better speed up…rats I won’t be able to finish my point!”
Insert eye-roll here.
This happens all the time, but most often, it is a result of people not wanting to sound ‘rehearsed’ or ‘rote’. They have a general idea of what they want to say and prefer to “Wing It”, because they are convinced they really do know what to say in the allotted amount of time.
Or they’re convinced that just having bullet points will allow them to say everything they want to share and stay on time.
One of the most basic skills I teach my clients is how to write, edit and rehearse their presentations, so not only do they captivate their audience, but they do so in a clear, concise and engaging way, and stay on time.
Not being able to say what you wanted to say in the time you have is one of the most basic mistakes someone can make. You don’t look like a trusted professional or expert in your field if you ramble on and someone has to cut you off. It also diminishes your stature if you have to stop your presentation before you get to the most important points you wanted to share – which usually comes at the end.
So, do yourself (and your audience) a big favor. Write out what you want to say, don’t wing it. This will help you see if you are repeating yourself, missing important pieces, or trying to cram too many points into the time you have.
And that will leave your audience giving your presentation rave reviews!
And now, for a bit of fun, here is a light hearted but enlightening lesson on the history of plurals in the English language!
John McWhorter: A brief history of plural word…s
All it takes is a simple S to make most English words plural. But it hasn’t always worked that way (and there are, of course, exceptions). John McWhorter looks back to the good old days when English was newly split from German — and books, names and eggs were beek, namen and eggru!
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