Like many speakers, I have many more hours of material ready than I could ever share in a single —stories, exercises, lessons, conceptual models, and more. And I have hundreds of carefully-illustrated to go with this material.

While aspiring speakers worry about how to fill up fifty whole minutes, experienced speakers often have the opposite problem.

Here's one way to cope with overload.

Think of each , exercise, lesson, etc. as a “bead” in a jewelry box. Each bead is probably usually somewhere between 3 minutes and ten minutes long.

And the duration of your speech?

That's the string you'll thread the beads on.

A five-minute speech might include one bead with an intro and outro to frame it.

A fifty-minute speech might include 5 or more.

Ask the professional what the audience is looking for. Are there specific skills they want to cover? What challenges are they addressing?

Go into your jewelry box, pick out the beads that fit your audience's needs, string them up in the right order, and that's it!

You'll end up with a customized speech that ends on while offering the value you were to deliver.

And as you build and grow your , instead of worrying about how to fill a long , you can on collecting beads one at a .

Before long, you'll end up with a jewelry box full of valuable gems.