Recently I coached a group of clients in the financial industry during an executive presentation skills workshop.
There were five people in the group. At one stage each participant had to come up with a topic and present it to his or her peers.
One member of the group chose a difficult topic: how Block-Chain technology is going to change the way we do business. His first attempt was dreadful and produced 5 minutes and 6 seconds of waffle that confused everybody including the speaker himself. Then came the advice to restructure the presentation, reduce jargon and use fewer words.
The person in question did exactly that. He spent 10 minutes putting thoughts to paper. It was time well spent as he managed to speak in a coherent and understandable manner for only 1 minute and 46 seconds. He spoke with clarity, brevity and impact. His peers gave him a round of applause.
The 10 minutes he spent preparing reduced the amount of speaking time by 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Each listener, therefore, spent 3 minutes and 20 seconds less in the meeting. By keeping his message short and succinct the speaker managed to reduce the cumulative listening time of the other 4 people by 13 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s 10 minutes of preparation time well spent on behalf of the speaker. He saved others time.
If all meeting times can be reduced by simply having people show up prepared, you can imagine how much time, and money, a company can save.