(See my last blog for Mistake #1)
I would be lying if I told you this mistake doesn’t upset me on occasions. It sometimes hurts my performance and can confuse an audience. If you are scheduled to talk for 20 minutes during a safety convention or safety leadership conference a sure sign you are an unprepared amateur is if you go several minutes overtime.
One time a company Vice President who gave a safety “lecture” before me cut into nearly 30 minutes of my time! I still ended as scheduled, which was right before lunch, but I had to cut out a big chunk of my talk. (Though I got great reviews from the audience, the VP who went way over his time limit said I seemed a “bit rushed!”)
Ending on time is best. Second best: ending a few moments early. Worst: going noticeably overtime.
Two common culprits behind going overtime are 1) Lack of preparation and 2) Trying to jam too much information into your talk. I always ask myself “What must I include to make my time on stage captivating in a way that inspires the audience to take action?” and “What is not necessary but does add some flavor to my stage time.” The second elements I’m ready to drop if my time is cut. That can sometimes happen no matter how prepared you are. You should ask those questions while preparing your safety and health meetings too.
You’ve got to practice! I practice my delivery and content out loud and silently in my mind. You don’t have to memorize what you’ll say, but you do need to have a solid feel for how long it will take you to complete your talk and what you want it to do.