Keep it short: Blaise Pascal once famously commented, “I have only made this letter rather long because I have not had time to make it shorter.” While it seems like the challenge of speaking with limited preparation would be finding enough to say, the opposite is often true. When at a loss for words, many of us underestimate the time we need — cramming in so many stories and points that we run well over our time and dilute our message. No one will appreciate your economy of words more than your listeners, so when in doubt, say less.
There’s no substitute for practice in offering impromptu remarks, and there are many things to consider when preparing for a great talk. But mastering a few basics, like those above, can make these public comments less stressful to prepare and easier for audiences to hear.
To succeed in keeping it short, we close the circle and go back to what we shared at the very beginning of our public speaking tips series, namely defining a structure. Know your intro, you main points and the supporting points for them and your conclusion. Don’t overdo it with detail, ideally have a clock in your eyesight to keep track of time or ask someone you know well from the audience to give you a sign at certain intervals.
We hope that our public speaking tips ranging from defining your structure, keeping your audience in mind, putting the punchline first, memorizing what to say not how to say it and keeping it short will equip you with some basic tools to prepare yourself for successful public speaking performances.
We’d love to here about your experience implementing any of those tips and how it went for you. Please share below.