I was at a networking event the other evening and we had a guest speaker come in. He was billed as a motivational speaker, but I would call him a sales strategy speaker.
He was dynamic. He had some great ideas. He had some great phrases that you could steal. He was personable. He was interesting.
He also was completely disrespectful of our time.
Keep in mind that this was an evening event. We had all already put in a full day’s work, some of us starting as early as 7 am and it was about 6:45 pm when he started. Most of us were tired and were ready to go home and relax, but we were putting in the time and effort to be at an important networking opportunity.
After speaking for about 35 minutes, he looked at the time (7:20) and told us that he wanted to be respectful of our time (the meeting had started at 5:30) and he’d breeze through the remaining content to be finished in 15 minutes.
45 minutes later, he finally ended. Yes, he gave good information almost right up ’til the end, but some people were starting to disengage.
To make it worse, the last 5 minutes were a sales pitch for his upcoming seminar, books and recorded materials. When he asked how many people wanted to purchase tickets to his upcoming seminar at the end, I noticed that the number of people who were interested was about half that from when he’s asked the same question 30 minutes before.
Whether you’re speaking in front of a group or it’s a one-on-one meeting, respect the time you’re given. If you promise it will take 30 minutes, don’t go over. In fact, taking a few minutes less is fine, too. Don’t lose the business because you can’t learn how to stop talking.