It’s all about timing

A friend of mine has a favorite (two-part) joke:

What’sthedifferencebetweenagoodjokeandabadjoke?Timing.

What’s the difference between a good joke and a bad joke?
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………………………………………. Timing.

Any good joke relies on a combination of set-up, punchline, and timing.  Some jokes need very little comedic timing, some need a lot.  Very few need none.  Slide-show based presentations are no different.

Most people think they have a clear sense of how long to talk about a particular issue before moving on.  They’re probably wrong.  In a ten-minute presentation, it’s better to have thirty slides set on a timer than eight slides without a timer (and it’s probably better to make a eight-minute slide show with 25 slides, than have your audience of clients looking at their watches).

Putting your slides on a timer tells your audience three things:

  1. You have planned this presentation to take a certain amount of time;
  2. You have practiced this presentation enough that you’re confident of your content; and
  3. You know that your speech is not about you, but about your content.

In a timed presentation, you can’t suddenly change your mind about the important content; you are showing your audience that you care about them, that you’ve thought about their issue carefully, and you’ve identified certain content as being of particular value.  You’ve practiced sharing your insights with them, too.  And you know that the information they need is not so much about you.

You have, in other words, put your audience first.  You’re prepared to show them that you know their issue clearly and cleanly.  You have information to share with them.  And thus they’re less likely to interrupt in the middle of your talk.

Coaching Services

Improved communication and public speaking skills are an important of any organization’s overall strategy.  Knowing what to say is your business as an expert — but knowing how to say it is someone else’s business.

Our primary business here at Watermountain Studio is making things. That’s where my real joy lies.  But for twenty years, I coached people in speaking and debating skills, to help them prepare for delivering school reports and participating in mock trials, debate teams, and public speaking appearances.  There’s a graduate-school-level training that I acquired in rhetoric and communications skills; then I joined Toastmasters and acquired an even more sophisticated training in communications techniques.

Now?  I help business people in western Massachusetts refine and develop their overall media strategy, by helping them develop strong communications skills and improve their confidence when speaking with clients, regulators, other industry professionals, and suppliers.  I’ve worked with a growing number of clients in numerous industries to help them develop their public speaking skills, their branding and messaging, and even their marketing materials.  I’ve served:

  • government-sponsored agencies
  • environmental engineering
  • local non-profits engaged in business development
  • sales forces
  • leadership development teams

I might be able to help you.