The Eleventh Commandment

I think it’s a sin to bore people.  If I was there back in Moses’ day, I’d be petitioning God for just one more commandment:  

Thou shalt not bore people. 

We’ve all been there.  You’re in a meeting or class session, and you’re a captive audience.  By “captive,” I mean the social pressure is dictating you politely remain in your seat, quietly, until you’ve been given permission to get up and run for the door. 

The male perspective of a good talk is this:  Keep it like a woman’s skirt—long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting. 

(OK, ladies, we need to come up with a female perspective on this, but it’s going to be a challenge.  What does a woman want from a man that’s “long enough…but short enough?”  I’m open for comments.  Please leave them below…and please keep it respectably clean…to a point.) 

There’s always a magical point in a speech, teaching, or presentation.  It’s the point where it should come to a perfect end. 

ATTENTION ALL YOU SPEAKERS:  It’s the point where you should STOP TALKING. 

It really is a magical point.  If the speaker/teacher/presenter goes beyond this point, everyone in the room seems to know it, because they start fidgeting, and looking at their watches or cell phones.  Everyone seems to know this magical point, except the one speaking…who is breaking the 11th Commandment.  He is SINNING.  He is stealing other people’s time…which could be better spent doing what the people like/need to do, rather than what the SINNER blindly thinks they’d like more than anything else—to listen to him rabbit-trailing himself beyond the magical stopping point. 

It isn’t always the focal speaker who commits this sin, however.  Sometimes there’s a maverick in the crowd who hijacks the time, thinking it’s his responsibility to unleash all his minutely-individualized questions and concerns upon both the speaker and the entire group present.  He starts robbing everyone’s time with his pet issues…which no one else really cares about. 

SPEAKERS BEWARE:  Just tell these time-robbing, 11th-Commandment-breakers that you can address their individualized concerns at the end of the session…after everyone else has been released, so they can politely head for the door if they want to. 

So…when is this magical point when a speaker should stop?  It could be five or ten minutes, or even 30 minutes.  For the exceptional speaker, it could be much longer. 

If you’re given an allotted time to speak, stick to it, lest you break the 11th Commandment.  On the other hand, if you’re totally in charge of how much time you have to speak, beware.  Read your listeners…their expressions, their actions.  If you speak powerfully, and bring them to a point of decision, then help them make the right decision.  Give them a call to action.  Make it clear…what they need to do and how to do it. 

Then stop talking. 

Don’t break the 11th Commandment. 

On behalf of captive audiences everywhere, Thank You!


One Response to “The Eleventh Commandment”

  1. June Haywood Says:

    Their shirt. Long enough to cover the gut, but short enough to leave the butt uncovered. Sorry Judy I just could ‘t resist.
    Bless you.

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