A to Z Challenge: T is for Time

A TED Talk is 18 minutes long. Whether you are Bono, Bill Gates or Bill Clinton – no more, no less.

A Toastmaster speech is generally 5 to 7 minutes long.

How long can I listen to a speech or presentation before zoning out? Not more than 18 minutes…and it had better be good!

Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, says this about the 18-minute rule:

It [18 minutes] is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online. It’s the length of a coffee break. So, you watch a great talk, and forward the link to two or three people. It can go viral, very easily. The 18-minute length also works much like the way Twitter forces people to be disciplined in what they write. By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18, you get them to really think about what they want to say. What is the key point they want to communicate? It has a clarifying effect. It brings discipline.

I really like this approach. It takes discipline to whittle down all that you want to say into less time than you think is possible to convey your message.

You know what they say about coal  right? Pressure turns coal into diamonds.

Look at it thus: concentrating your ideas, stories and findings into a small capsule of time will make it more memorable, it will linger in the audience’s minds for longer. Like any good concentrate, it is chock-a-block with flavour.

What are your thoughts on speech timings?

Come back tomorrow for U is for Unassuming.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z



One thought on “A to Z Challenge: T is for Time”

  1. I like the reasoning behind the 18 minute length. It makes a lot of sense. It’s long enough to get into the meat of the topic and short enough to not bore people, especially those that might be in the audience “against their will”.
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