7 reasons to plan extra time into your speech

You’ll look like an expert, speak at a smooth pace, and be ready for the unexpected.

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Here’s a secret: There may be an hour on the schedule, but if you’re a smart speaker, you won’t fill the allotted time.

The speaker who allows extra time gets seven secret advantages, such as:

1. A happier audience: No one really wants the speaker to speak the full amount of time. No one. A speaker who shows not just a healthy respect for time limits, but errs on the less-is-more side, will get more praise, applause and love from listeners. Leave them wanting more.

2. A more engaged audience: Most audiences come to talks wanting to participate in some way, and I don’t just mean by applauding. People arrive with questions, things to add to the discussion, or points they want to argue. When you leave extra time, you let them contribute and feel satisfaction from doing so.

3. Less stress in the room: You can feel the stress in the room when speakers skirt too close to closing time. There’s the person in front who mouths “five minutes!” to the people in back who check their watches and cell phones.

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