Monthly Archives: October 2014

Take 9 Minutes

Can I Take 9 Minutes of Your Time?

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Sorry for the letter, I didn’t have time to write a postcard.” He knew that it took more time to summarize his thoughts to fit concisely on a postcard then to fill a letter.

Applying this logic to meeting presentations leads to better and more productive communications. Researchers in the U.K. estimate that today’s workers waste two hours and 39 minutes per week in meetings because of Parkinson’s Law. The law states simply “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In the case of presentations, this means if an hour is slated then that is the amount of time that will be taken, even if not necessary.

What’s the ideal length of time for a presentation designed to give the audience a basic understanding of the information? According to Kevin Karschnik and the folks behind iSpeak workshops it’s surprisingly only 9 minutes. And the good news is, you’ll actually command more attention. Researcher Neil Vidyarthi found that your audience will have only one serious attention lapse in 9 minutes compared with lapses of every 2 minutes in longer presentations.

Take the time to be succinct, cut those slide decks down to 10 slides, and focus on a three key takeaways. You’ll work a little harder but your audience will learn a whole lot more.

Quote of the week:
“Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.” ~Louise Brooks