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how long to talk

How Long Should You Talk. . .?

Diogenes walked the streets of Athens looking for an honest man! I continue to look for someone whose attention span is getting LONGER. My 99 year old Mother-In-Law doesn’t get around as quickly as she once did, but her attention span is getting shorter. And that’s certainly true in the business world. And especially…with senior executives who spend a LOT of their time sitting in meetings or in conference calls…listening to people talk!

Talk in the time between! Two words you do not want people to say - or think - “Got it” If they say that, stop! The second time they say “got it” will be much firmer! The other set of words you do not want them to say - or think - “Where’s this going…?” Or what’s the point? So talk between the “got it” and “where’s this going?” 

Two Strategies. One, front-load your message and make your point quickly. and confidently - before they say Got it.  Two,tell us up-front where you are going...and go there! 

I heard a speech given by the new CFO of a major company to his direct reports. He challenged them that when they speak to him, they must remember three numbers: 2, 1, and 30. He explained,”You are only going to get 2 minutes.” Don’t show me more than 1 visual, and if I don’t know where you are going in 30 seconds, I’ll throw you out!”

The bottom line... Work on your “elevator speech.” Of course the one you are prepared to deliver when you find yourself alone on an elevator with the CEO, and she asks,’”So what do you do for us here in the company?” But also work on the “Mini-elevator speeches” you deliver every day…when sitting in a meeting, when participating in a presentation, in every one-on-one conversation. And when someone says, Wow! when you finish…you know that you have talked just long enough!!

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