Speed Talking & Passion Do Not Mix Well

Last night I spoke to a small group of our local Lionesses who had invited me to their meeting to talk about Monarch Butterflies. Already with a lot on my plate, I reluctantly agreed to accept their invitation, even though I received it but two short weeks ago.

Conserving Monarch Butterflies and their habitat is a passion of mine. I have been involved in the work of saving this iconic species for about 16 years now, well before it was popular. I was comfortable knowing I could engage the Lioness group in the topic.

The problem, however, was that they only wanted me to speak for 20 minutes!  Twenty minutes! Yikes! It is not a lot of time to cover a subject that has many facets. I recently spoke at a conference for other Master Gardeners on Monarchs, Milkweed, and the Monarch Highway and even that presentation was 45 minutes long!

Therefore, yesterday, I went about trimming my presentation down to twenty minutes. The night before, while I had insomnia, I decided that I’d break the entire presentation down into five-minute sections. Five minutes for an introduction, five minutes for background information on what is currently going on with the monarch species, five minutes for what they can do to help the monarchs, and five minutes on other resources, closing, and questions.



I didn’t have as much difficulty paring down the presentation as I thought, at least on paper. I cut out most of the life cycle information with the exception of the migration, and reliance on milkweed plants as the sole sustenance for their survival. I went as confidently into the presentation as I could with essential information.

Graciously, the Lionesses invited me to dine with them prior to my presentation which would be followed by their meeting. I accepted that invitation as well. I waited for them to indicate it was time for me to present to them.  I am not sure we were “on schedule” or not when I started but I did ask for assistance in letting me know when I was about half way through my talk. I then expected some looking at watches for this reason. Eventually, that happened but even with speed talking and paring my presentation down, one member indicated that I was at the 15 minute mark! Already! Not to worry, I stated, I was almost done.  I wrapped up with where they could get further information and by answering questions.  Unfortunately, I know I went over their 20 minute time frame. They still had a meeting to conduct. I left knowing that I had made an effort but also knowing that in the future, I need at least 30 minutes (and ideally 45 minutes) to make an adequate presentation on the topic of Monarch Conservation.  I think what it comes down to is that you cannot put constraints on passion!

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday, where writer’s can post their blog piece as a link in a forum for other writer’s. Thank you to Two Writing Teachers Blog for hosting this weekly forum.

5 thoughts

  1. Isn’t this the case? We feel so passionate about our speaking subjects, which makes us good presenters, which then means we are asked to speak at more places, and then we have to shorten our presentations so that we can fit it in everyone else’s schedules? It’s a circular conundrum!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments! Yes, it is exactly true! I am learning that I like conference presentations better as there is much more advanced notice and generally a time frame I am more apt to fit my presentation into with the aid of a power point or such. This presentation and one I did last summer at a wild life refuge were more limited, and I definitely felt pressured by the time constraints. While it is great to be asked (and I’d like to think I am asked because I am a good presenter), it is made more difficult by the pressure of time. Thanks, again!


  2. Compressing so much important information into 20 minutes is quite a task! The pressure of time constraints makes it so hard to communicate everything that you want and need to share!

    I love the line: “you cannot put constraints on passion!” At the beginning of my career, I was once told that not every teacher was as passionate about literacy (which still shocks me fifteen years later) so I should expect that folks wouldn’t get excited about my ideas. I think that our unconstrained passions for certain subjects can encourage others to learn more about those subject, which may in turn foster their own passion for a topic (I hope that makes sense).


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