Two hours or two minutes....
How long should you talk? Do you know the name Edward Everett? He was a renowned politician and historian who lived at the time of the Civil War. His claim to fame is that he was the speaker just before Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address. Everett spoke for two hours, and Lincoln spoke for two MINUTES!
There were no photos of Lincoln DELIVERING his speech. When the photographers got their cameras ready to shoot…Lincoln was walking back to his seat! Everett told Lincoln that his speech (Lincoln’s) was better than his own two-hour speech.
I am currently working with four persons who have important speeches coming up. The event is a major occasion in the insurance industry - attended by 600 industry leaders. The suggested time limit for their speeches - 5 MINUTES! Here’s my coaching advice for them - and you!
Headlines - Start with your most important information. Don’t make the audience ask - or even think - “where’s this going?“ Or “what’s the bottom line?”
Key Ideas - What are the key ideas you want to get across? State them, and briefly develop them. For each idea have a story, an example, or a real-life connection.
Prepare - Winston Churchill was known for saying that the shorter the time requirement for a speech…the more time he needed to prepare. If you wanted him to speak for two hours…he was ready now!
Rehearse - To the camera on your cell phone…to a mirror…or to a colleague or friend - several times. This will be the icing on the cake for your presentation.
Let me know…For your next presentation, use the ideas above, and tell me how it went —in a brief email!!