Unlike life where we have no real control over the number of minutes we’re on the planet, in leadership and speaking you are in charge of time.

A woman sitting at a table with papers and a laptop.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with time, and perhaps you have, too? For example, I’ve never been much of a morning person although I can perform well before 10 a.m. when needed. Maybe you saw my blog on re-discovering coffee in Colombia last month, where I really needed it, because all of my training sessions there for clients started at 8 a.m.

And I confess that being punctual was never a strong suit either. My dear mother always used to say to me, “The bus comes at the same time every day. Why are you always running behind?â€

Somehow, over the years, as a speaker and leader, I’ve learned to take the helm, steering time on stage and at meetings — and I believe you can, too.

A few tips:

  • Start at the end when you’re planning your presentation or the goal for your meeting. What do you want to accomplish when it’s all over. Work backwards in assembling your content and putting together your agenda.
  • Look at the total time you’ve been given or scheduled for your presentation or
  • Review your content, narrow it to two or three points maximum, and then assign a time limit to each. For a meeting, noA woman sitting at a table with papers and a laptop.te the number of items you need to cover and then assign blocks of five to 15 minutes, allowing for discussion, also.
  • Cut, cut, cut and then cut your content and meeting items some more. Why? Your audience and team’s attention span is getting smaller everyday due to the digital pull and increasing life challenges everywhere. If you want to be truly heard and get the action you’re seeking, less truly is more.
  • Be a bit selfish on the days you’re the speaker by saying “no†or “later†to what can wait, so that you can be on time, and not add to your stress unnecessarily.

What are your tips with respect to time? Please share them with me to pass along