Saw a headline today: “Procrastinators Important To Retailers”. Glad to know that I’m of value. Seems that everyone always has something to do at the last minute. And it becomes hectic and rushed, with limited results. I know of very few people who shop December 24 who walk away thinking they got just the perfect gift and it went exactly according to plan. I’m a card-carrying procrastinator and get tons done with the pressure of a deadline looming, but I never feel that I gave it my best shot, regardless of results.Presenters and their messages are often similar in behavior. They coast through the first part of their message with all the urgency of a Christmas shopper in July. They’re funny, witty, and captivating. Then they realize time is short and kick into overdrive like there was a sale just announced on aisle six. Audiences can’t take the breakneck pace or digest material faster just because you want to get done. If you’re over, trim and exit. Corollary: if there’s an announced end, end before or on time, but not late. At that point you’re likely the only one interested (and Rule #1… it’s not about you).I sat through a class the other day where the facilitator annouced there were a dozen points (mistake #1). We spent 50 minutes of the allotted hour and covered four. The last ten minutes (which actually lasted 17, and had about no one on board for the final 3 or 4) was filled with caveats about the lack of time (spend time giving value, not talking about the value you’d get if there was time) and a rushed sprint to the finish. I personally felt covering #5 or even stopping at 6 was a great place to end, but there was that feeling that we HAD to cover it all, despite the fact that I don’t think there was much value from the attendees’ point of view past #6. Who was the focus of points 7-12? The facilitator, not the audience. Rule #1.

Pace your communication and have exit points planned. End strong with your audience’s full attention.

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