Go slow and speak less.

Yes, I know it’s counterintuitive. I can barely believe it myself, even though I see it happen almost every day.

Here’s an example:

These days I’m helping a client prepare for a speech at a major committee meeting. It’s an important meeting, and an important speech, but it’s a short speech — about 8 minutes.

When he first started practicing, it was almost impossible to cram everything into his 8 minute time limit. He was rushing, and the words alone were taking 10 minutes, and then there was a video too, and some slides, and it just didn’t look possible.

So I listened to the little voice in the back of my head, the one that was saying “Tell him to go slow and see what happens.”

He did, and within three practice rounds the speech had fallen to 5-1/2 minutes. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of surprise and amazement that I had, sitting behind the camera, listening to the final few words fall out of his mouth, watching the timer: 5:19, 5:20, 5:21, 5:22, 5:23, press stop.

I think what happens is that when the speaker slows down, the mind clears. The brain focuses, and the fat is cut, naturally and easily.

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About Matt Krause

Matt began his professional life as an import buyer, and since 2006 has been teaching companies how to connect with their investors and clients better. His clients work for companies like Allianz, 3M, P&G, Citibank, and Reckitt Benckiser. He also walked across Turkey and wrote a book about it.