Timing is everything and public speaking is no exception. Long drawn-out presentations will only result in a bored, distracted audience and you’ll lose their attention very quickly! On the other hand, rushing through your material can give an impression of nerves, or your key points could be missed. Public speaking presents huge challenges for many people, but sorting out your timing can be the difference between a great speech and a mediocre or downright appalling presentation. Break your public speaking presentation into defined chunks. An effective method of preparing your public speaking notes is to organize each part into smaller sections. List your key points first and break the whole thing into short effective chunks, remembering to include an introduction and closing statement. Timing your introduction is an essential factor in public speaking. The people in the room you are addressing already know why you’re there (unless they’ve turned up in the wrong venue!). Successful public speaking begins with an effective introduction; whether you’re presenting at a seminar or conference, making a wedding speech or preparing an audio course, you have to capture your audience in the first few words. Keep your opening short and to the point, then move on to the main part of your talk or lecture. List your key points clearly and avoid a public speaking timing crisis. One of the worst things that can happen in public speaking is losing your place, especially if nerves kick in. Your carefully thought out timing has just been blown out and your presentation will no longer make sense, or you will lose your momentum and confidence. Your public speaking notes must be neat, well organized and easy to refer to quickly to keep your timing on schedule. Pause and effect in public speaking. Timing is of course not just about how long your speech takes, but how you present your words. In any public speaking setting, you want your audience to stay with you throughout your entire talk. Using effective pauses or a few seconds of silence (for applause hopefully!) will give your speech a more natural feel, and allow you time to check your notes. Finishing off your speech. Don’t waste your great lecture or talk by rambling on at the end. The most important aspect of public speaking is leaving your audience remembering what you’ve said and a long-winded ending will wipe out all the good work you’ve done up to this point! Finally, when you’re timing your speech before any public speaking event, keep in mind that the duration is likely to be different in practice compared to talking to a live audience. Allow yourself a little more time to get through the presentation, and to answer questions if required. While public speaking can be a daunting prospect, there are excellent training materials and resources available to help you overcome all the aspects involved.