Feel the Width
I blame higher education for this.
‘Write a 3,000 word essay on…’
I did my degree back in the days when personal computers were still a pipe dream (we had Macs at uni, but no way did anyone have one at home). All essays were written out by hand and although the content should have been king or queen, word count ruled.
When you have to write 3,000 words in biro, it’s gonna physically hurt so you’re going to obsessively count and re-count every word to be absolutely sure that you’ve hit the word limit. Never mind the quality, see how many words I produced! Go ahead, count ‘em!
Very unfortunately, many of us can’t seem to shake the terrible habit and let it affect the quality of our public speaking.
If asked to speak for twenty mintues don’t waste a single one of your 1,200 seconds (I used a calculator for that, I didn’t count on my fingers). A great presentation isn’t a race to the end. It’s a confident, measured, structured walk from one place to another place via a few other places of note in-between.
This is public speaking with purpose.
(This blog post is dedicated to Jo Brown and Amanda Kilgour, and everyone else on the ’89-’92 Brighton Polytechnic BALIS course. Between us, we counted a lot of words.)