Power Presentations Tip 50: Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

The singer sang the verse and then encouraged the audience to sing
along with the chorus of the old yet well known song, "Those Were
the Days My Friend"

I studied her as she switched between the roles of singer /
performer and maestro / cheerleader. The transitions were smooth
and coincided with the accompaniment from the band.

Each time she shifted out of "singer" mode into "maestro" mode she
waited for the precise moment to call out an encouragement to the

It was only micro-seconds that she waited but I marveled at her timing
because I've seen many performers loose their sense of timing when
they fall out of performer mode.

What is Timing?

Timing is a difficult concept to explain. If you know it, you will
recognize it when you see it. Bad timing is usually easier to
recognize because of the ill effects.

The importance of timing is especially noticeable in relationships,
dancing, business, combat, sports, music, entertainment and

Complex Skill

Timing is a complex skill because it is based on developing other
skills first.

Timing seems to be the combination of two key skills. First, the
willingness to wait, even though you feel ready now. Second, the
ability to be in the moment, observe your audience and notice when
they are almost ready.

Timing in Presenting

Where can you make better use of timing in your presentations?

-Pausing just before you deliver a poignant point
-Slowing down your delivery on a critical message
-Delaying your response to a challenging question
-Waiting for the laughter to arrive and then subside after a funny
-Changing the sequence of your presentation because the rhythm was
-Taking an unplanned break because the room was ready for it

How Can You Improve Your Timing?

Listen to music and notice both the rhythm and the beat. Notice how
important that is. Try humming your favorite tunes - first as
intended, then quicker and finally disjointed. Feel the difference.

Watch comedians - live or on TV and count the seconds of their
pauses. Repeat their lines out loud.

Sit on a chair - look at the clock - close your eyes and open them
in 60 seconds. Then try it again and aim for 90 seconds. See how
close you can get to your target.
The next time you are near a lake, sea or ocean - watch the waves.
Count the cycle between big waves. Imagine that you are a surfer
timing your next ride. Move too soon and you crash - too late and
you miss the joy.

Of course the most important part of timing is to finish your
presentation on time.

George Torok

PS: Tell me how this tip helps you.

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