September 29, 2010

10 posts on sticking to your time

This story by Jeff Foxworthy perfectly illustrates the responsibility of a perfomer (or speaker) to have practiced and prepared well enough to be able to stick to the time allotted -- no matter what happens.
"In my finest moment as a was the first time I did Johnny. And they told me you had six minutes. We don't want you doing six minutes 20 seconds and we don't want you doing five minutes and 40 seconds. We want you to do six minutes.

I tell my first two jokes. I tell joke #3 and not only do they laugh, it gets an applause break, which never happens in a comedy club. Now I'm smiling, because they're applauding, I'm happy they're applauding, but in my mind this has messed up my six minutes. I had not timed for an applause break.

So even though I'm smiling and I'm starting to go into joke #4, my mind is three minutes ahead of myself, going 'Okay, three minutes from now you have four jokes about your dad; out of the four, the second one is probably the weakest. Cut that joke.'"

~ Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, I Am Comic documentary
Whether you're performing on Johnny Carson or reporting the latest sales numbers to your management team, it's never okay to go long. Your audience will appreciate finishing a few minutes early, but a few minutes late might throw off their whole afternoon.

Here are some of my favorite posts on timing. My fellow bloggers and I wouldn't write about this so often if it weren't such a problem! Please read some (or all) of these and learn how to incorporate timing into your preparation so you never go long again.

Timing your presentation when incorporating activities How do you practice when you don't know how long your activities will take?

You never have as much time as you want Presentations always start late... how will you handle it?

Run out of time? Never again! The most valuable tool in my speaker kit

Time vs. information How to break down your presentation for the time allotted

The rewards of ending on time Great story from someone who did the right thing when there was no time for her to speak

Is there enough white space in your presentation? What to do if you're verbose!

A 90-minute show in 2 minutes A whole episode of Saturday Night Live delivered in two minutes!

And a few favorites from my fellow public speaking bloggers:

How to keep time during your presentation by Olivia Mitchell

What do I do if my presentation is running short or long? by TJ Walker

We're out of time, and it's your fault by Alan Hoffler

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