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Posted on October 5, 2018
Earlier this summer I was coming out of a session at SCN (Speaking Consulting Network) and overheard someone saying, “my brain hurts!”. It turns out that this is an actual phenomenon. Our little 3-pound brain burns through energy when we are learning and there comes a point when we can sustain that level of energy.
In the early 1980s, researchers found that people suffer from “cognitive backlog.” Simply put, information acts like weights–the more you pile on, the more likely you are to drop everything. (https://www.inc.com/carmine-gallo/why-your-next-pitch-should-follow-teds-18-minute-rule.html) The outcome of subsequent research has been that the ideal length of a talk for optimal learning is 18 mins.
But what do we do as a speaker if we have been asked to speak for an hour… or a half day… or (gasp) a full day?
The answer is to monitor the amount of information we are doling out. If we are an expert on the 6 key steps to accomplishing something, do we try to teach all 6, or do we give an overview on all 6 but dive deep into one or two of the steps?
I have had vigorous debates with a couple of clients on this point. Their stance is that if they give out more information, then various people in the audience will be taking different then
I believe as speakers our job is to deliver the right quantity at the highest quality at the highest quality. That is significance.
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