First, let’s get clear on what I mean by a rude speaker at networking events. If you asked to be, signed up for, paid for a spotlight speaker position, are a sponsor of an event with speaking time or are the primary presenter and you go over the agreed/scheduled time, then it’s likely you are a rude speaker.
Your content might be spot on and a topic that the audience is hungry for. You may be impeccably dressed and your hair and makeup done to your brand. You may have the most impressive worksheet or handout material. But if you go over time, it’s likely people will consider you as being rude.
Rude as an adjective means discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way. It is also not properly or fully developed, raw or unevolved. Synonyms are abusive, crude, impolite and insulting. Whoa! Does that feel harsh?
Now, you may not be any of these words above and may not be intentionally speaking for more than your allotted time, however there is an impact to speaking longer than your scheduled time.
If you signed up for a 5-minute spotlight and you talk for 7 or 8 minutes, that is rude. A couple extra minutes doesn’t seem like much but in this example it is 50-60% MORE! If you wanted a cup of coffee that was advertised as $5 you wouldn’t be thrilled to be charged 50-60% more ($7 or $8!) Viewed this way, you can see the significance when your talk goes over! You may be considered to be disrespectful. The facilitators of the agenda have budgeted time for all the different aspects of the meeting and by you going over time they have to play catch-up or shave time off something else to compensate to ensure the meeting ends on time.
It also creates this sense of “if she can do it then so can I”. When someone is witnessing another person achieving a goal that they also want to accomplish like running a marathon “if she can do it then so can I” can be encouraging however, when it’s modeling something that isn’t good practice then it sends a message that the meeting facilitators don’t care about keeping time and others can get away with more speaking time as well.
Here’s 3 ways to Overcome Being A Rude Speaker
Practice your content and target finishing BEFORE your allotted time. Doing this allows for you getting sidetracked and going deeper into your content. It happens. We know what we know and how valuable it is to the audience and can get caught up in wanting to share more and tell stories. While all that is great and valuable, holding the details of your program or personal experience to post meeting conversation or follow-up 1-1 chats allows you a place to share more.
2. USE A TIMER
Have a timer visible front and center to you while you’re speaking. Seeing how much time you have left helps you tailor your remaining content so you wrap up within time.
3. CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
Considering the effect of your actions on your audience will help ensure you show up in integrity and respect. When you go over time, your audience will make judgements and assumptions about how you do business that may not be true. This can be hurtful to your credibility and reputation. If you don’t respect time during a meeting then they will wonder if you respect time during sessions/working with them as a client and if you will deliver on time.
If you identify with being a rude speaker, know that it’s not the end of the world. In our culture of story telling and desire to be seen, we can get a little wordy when we have the mic.
While I’m not an expert in helping with speaking content nor speaking presence, I do attend quite a few networking meetings and this is one thing that I’ve seen often. One of the areas I do support female entrepreneurs is with scheduling and allocating (recurring) time for specific tasks and types of activities to increase productivity with efficiency.
So, be respectful...to yourself of your own time, the meeting facilitators, the agenda and your audience.
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Janina Goldberg has been a Process Management Master and Coaching expert for over 25 years! Over the past 8 years, she has refocused her expertise in helping entrepreneurs who want to up-level themselves personally and the productivity and success of their business. She really listens to your big goal ideas and helps you distill them into achievable plans with inspired actionable next steps. Janina transforms the “It’s all in my head” activities that business owners do week after week into organizable processes for ease in consistent execution.