How to Bend Time

It’s February. A month that gets to be a little shorter and zippier than the rest.

Time. What an amazing and bizarre construct.

I love thinking about it. And it also hurts my brain sometimes. (Mainly when I google things like ‘How old is the Universe?)

This watch was my 18th birthday present. Back then I was obsessed with Salvador Dali’s paintings of melting clocks. And I was regularly trying to pack ALL THE THINGS into a single day.

Spoiler….this doesn’t really work. Now I am waaaaay more intentional with how I go about things, rather than stuffing and jamming them in until I fall asleep.

This holds true for how I approach working with my clients and developing talks.

I help them help them plan and shape their valuable speaking time, in a way that makes sense for them and their audience.

It is not about cramming things in. I love the quote:

‘Overstuffed equals underexplained.’ – Chris Anderson (the head of TED)

It is about looking at the speaking minutes available and deciding…How do you really want to spend them?

For example, for a 10 minute lightning talk…

  • How many minutes is it worth for an introduction?
  • What are your most important points…how many minutes do you want to spend on each?
  • How about for your ending… what is it worth spending there to make it a satisfying experience for your audience?

Decide in advance and then time it. Do your intentions match with reality? Or is your beginning too long and your ending too rushed?

There aren’t any secret formulas or right or wrong answers. But mapping it out intentionally, and checking it in practice, makes a world of difference. Less rushing, less cramming. A better experience for you and your audience.

PS: A lot of my clients love seeing this mapped out onto an actual time wheel. It makes it so visual. I draw one circle to represent the total time of the talk e.g. 10 mins. Then I mark off the quarter, half, and three-quarter marks as guide points. As they deliver it, I keep track of where each section is coming in. You could record your talk and do the same. Is it how you want to be spending your speaker time?