[Image by Jan Vasek of Pixabay]

How many times have you either said or heard “Do you have a sec?” or “This will just take a sec.”  Reality is that nothing takes a “sec” so why bother saying it?  Yet, too often we may inadvertently say this phrase when it’s truly inaccurate.  Time is an extremely precious commodity for most of us and we’re often judged by how we treat time…so I encourage all my clients to treat time with high regard.  Here’s how you can do exactly that.

  1. Before you schedule any contact (over the phone, in-person, or virtually), ensure that you know how much time you’re being allocated by the other person. As an example, it can be quite embarrassing to assume you have 30 minutes and then find out the person with whom you’re meeting only has 15 minutes available.
  2. If you’re requesting a meeting, decide in advance how much time you’ll actually require of the other person.  As an example, do you need 15 minutes, 1/2 hour, or 45 minutes?  You’ll want to predetermine this by plotting out your message using a more realistic measurement.
  3. Even though you received permission for a particular time and duration, always check if that time still works for the other person by saying “Is this still a good time for you?”  We never know what may have changed for the other person and don’t want any distractions.
  4. If you find that the time you need is not available, you can opt to have two shorter meetings by setting up a follow-up.  So let’s say you need a 1/2 hour, depending on the availability of the other party, you may want to schedule two, 15-minute meetings.  I would encourage you to schedule the follow-up meeting in advance so it’s on the person’s calendar.
  5. When you know you have a specific timeframe, it’s one way of avoiding the trap of speaking rapidly.  You don’t have to try and cram in all your information by speaking rapidly.  This avoids confusion and you can deliver your message with the necessary emphasis.
  6. Use intentional communication by writing down what you plan to accomplish in your call or meeting.  This gives you a better chance to focus your communication.
  7. Write out key words or phrases as a reminder for what you want to say.
  8. Practice your delivery and record yourself with your phone, tablet, or laptop.  Listen to the feedback to ensure you come across professionally.  Modify your message, as needed.

Time is important to many of us so I advise we err on the side of being conservative.  That way, we’re perceived as credible and respectful.  Want to discuss this further?  Please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to assist 518-664-6004 or dale@profitablespeech.com