I had a fellow Toastmaster give me a call and asked me what to do with her 12 minute speech when the manual calls for a 5 to 7 minute speech. I gave her three options:
1. Cut, Cut, Cut.
While we’d all like to think that everything we’ve written is earth-shattering and “A” material, in reality a lot of it can be cut. Learning how to edit your material and turn a 12 minute speech into a 6 minute speech takes a lot of work and editing, but in the end it’s a great learning process. One of the saying I like is this, “There’s no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing.”
2. Divide your 12 minute speech into two 6 minute speeches.
If you have too much material, divide it and make two speeches out of it. On speech number two you may need to have an introduction which explains what is going on to the audience.
3. Contact the Toastmaster and see if they are missing a speaker for the night. Possibly, you can take their time also.
Every speaker needs to be cognizant of the audience and their time and needs. There are many times I’ve had to cut my programs to fit into the time constraints of the company or organization. The audience will appreciate it.