One minute less

As I wrote about here last week, I gave a ten minute talk in which I needed to summarize my vision for the future, and what we are doing to help make that vision happen. Ten minutes is not a long time, so the experience was a great exercise in learning how to focus.

In a few days, I am going to give a similar talk. Except on this occasion, the time alotted to each speaker is limited to nine minutes.

I will probably repurpose my ten minute talk, cut out some of the remaining fat, and practice a few times to make sure I indeed hit the nine minute mark. But that exercise raises an interesting question:

What if, as a discipline, one were to talk a talk on some topic and keep iterating on it, each time shaving off one minute? At what point would it be an essentially different talk?

Obviously there would be a dramatic change when the running time goes from “one minute” down to “zero minutes”. :-) But what about other transitions?

The intriguing thing for me about such an exercise is that it would force you to boil your ideas and your narrative down to the essential, while providing a framework for doing so. You could learn a lot from the choices you end up making about which ideas you keep, which you edit down, and which you simply throw away.

One Response to “One minute less”

  1. En says:

    An interesting question indeed! I predict that the end result (assuming the last iteration is a single sentence) would be akin to a thesis statement. In fact, I do not believe the essence of the talk would change at all. If anything, it would become just that — the essence. If you decide to carry out this activity as a discipline, please do share your thoughts and findings as you inevitably end up trimming away at the meat, void of fat.

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