A Clever Way To Control Your Time At Speaking Events

I bought a FitBit Flex Wireless Activity Wristband last year.

The FitBit is a terrific little device that tracks the number of steps you take, the number of miles you walk, and the number of calories you can eat each day based upon your activity level. It’s a high-tech and feature-rich modern day pedometer that syncs automatically to your smartphone or computer.

Since putting on the wristband about 10 months ago, the real-time results have kept me motivated to walk more each day, and the data have helped me lose several pounds. Here’s the iPhone summary of my activity so far today (as of 1:00 p.m., when I’m writing this):
What does any of this have to do with public speaking? The FitBit has a handy little feature—a silent pre-programmable alarm—that can help public speakers control their time.

For example, let’s say you’re speaking at a conference breakout session that has a hard ending time of 12:50 p.m. You can schedule two alarms in advance—one at 12:25 p.m., when you should be transitioning from your first main point to your second, and another at 12:45 p.m. when you have five minutes remaining and should be transitioning to your close.

Each time the alarm goes off, your wristband will shake silently. It’s enough of a shake to get your attention—but the audience will never know you received a silent time cue (unless you’re wearing short sleeves, in which case people might see the little light flashing).
FitBit Flex
The silent alarm prevents you from having to glance at a clock (which can be obvious to an audience) or have a live person giving you time cues (which can distract an audience).

My only suggestion is that you practice using it a few times during speech rehearsals. With practice, the gentle shaking will help you stay on track and end your speech on time—without anyone in the audience having any clue how you did it.

Want more public speaking tips? Click here to instantly join our mailing list and receive our latest posts each week.