20 minute talk

Tomorrow morning I am going to give a 20 minute talk. In many ways, it is actually harder to give a good short talk than a good long talk.

After all, in a long talk (say, 40-45 minutes), you have lots of chances to change things up. If the audience is responding to something in particular, you can spend more time on it, and just keep in mind that you’ll need to shave something down a little later on.

But in a short talk every minute counts, so you really can’t fool around with the rhythm. Tonight, the evening before, I am finding myself looking at everything very carefully and thinking through which things to keep and which to leave on the table.

In a way, it’s a very good process. Until you are forced to choose between your darlings, you don’t really know which ones you love the most.

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