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Lesson 3 - Effective Time Management in Public Speaking
Why do we fear speaking in public?
Many people fear public speaking because they think they will not have enough to say. They are afraid of finishing too quickly and then
falling silent, as
everyone in the audience watches. In my experience, this is not a realistic fear. In fact, in my observations over the years, most speakers
try to say too much,
and run out of time. So often, speakers have a very important point to make, but they run out of time to finish what their speech. Running
out of time can be just as embarrassing
as not having anything to say.
A simple solution
Fortunately, it is easy to prevent this problem. When you prepare, just use what I use, a good teacher's best friend - a watch! When you
use a watch to time yourself, you
gain very valuable information that most speakers never have. This knowledge will give you confidence when you speak, because you will know
how much time you really need and
you can plan well. To use a watch effectively, follow these steps.
First, time yourself as you practice your complete speech once. It is best to practice in front of a mirror while speaking out loud. As
you practice, speak slowly and naturally, keeping your eyes forward. When you are finished with the whole speech, record the time you used.
Beginners in public speaking think that time moves so slowly, but
by timing yourself when you practice, when there is no pressure, you can see that time really flies!
Now that you understand how much time you need, start to look at each section of your speech - the intro, each main idea or example, and
the conclusion - to see where you
must either cut or add to your speech. A very general guideline to follow is that your introduction should be 10 to 15%, your conclusion
should also be about 10 to 15%, with your main ideas totaling about 70 to 80% of your time.
One Last Tip
Keep in mind that you do NOT have to perfect with your timing. That would put too much pressure on you as the speaker. The goal is to be
sure you have enough time to say everything you want to say. By preparing with a watch, you will always have more success in communicating
your message. When you do that, you are ready to look at ways to make your speech even more memorable. That will be in Lesson 4 - Organizing
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