I went to a large networking event this evening where more than 100 professionals had gathered to... network. Great conversations were happening left and right -- people were getting just what they came for. But then, as the evening was really picking up steam, the leader of the association hosting the event stepped to the podium, "to say a few words." And he didn't run out of words for 25 minutes. I was standing near the door and 10 minutes into his talk I overheard one person saying to another, as they were leaving, "what a buzz killer". Unfortunately, many more slipped out the door before the speaker was done.
Having permission to talk from a podium is an incredible responsibility -- to your audience. We have all experienced the doldrums of listening to someone that is going on long after our patience is exhausted.... So why, when the microphone is in our hands, do we insist on doing exactly what we dislike -- talking too long.
While we long to say the perfect things and search for the words to completely describe our passion or cause, I encourage you to respect your audience in the same way that you wish to be respected. Being brief is far more effective than rambling and preaching.