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How to Manage Time When Giving a Speech

Learn how to manage time when giving a speech from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking training video.


So how do you manage time when giving a speech? There are some times when you're told you must finish in ten minutes, or you have exactly 20 minutes, and you've got to be precise. But any time you're giving a presentation, you should have a sense of how long it will take. Well the number one way to really get handle on this is to practice on video before you give the speech in front of the live audience. And you can actually see how many minutes did it take? Then give yourself another couple of minutes, because it's always going to take you longer in real life.

But if you don't practice, you don't really know how long it's going to be. What you can't do is read your speech silently and have an accurate sense of how long our presentation will be. Because you're always going to read faster than you'll talk.

Here's another tip. I just take my watch off and put it on a table or put it on a lectern, and that gives me a sense of where I am in time, especially if there's question and answer.

But here's the bigger picture. Rather than focusing on time, focus on really giving your audience valuable, relevant information. Because you can stand up, give your speech, sit down in five minutes, but nobody remembered anything. What have you accomplished? Not much. It's far better to speak for 15 minutes and have people really remember your ideas so they can act on them, rather than stand up, be concise, finish in three minutes exactly on schedule, and nobody remembers a thing.

So it all comes down to practice on video, and be aware of your surroundings where you can judge the time.

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