Shorter Political Speeches

by | Feb 1, 2018


Shorter Political SpeechesWouldn’t it be wonderful if politicians were forced to use the “TED Talks” 18-minute rule for public speaking?

TED is a public speaking phenomenon; started in 1984 as a one-time event with lectures on topics covering technology, entertainment and design. It has grown globally, with scores of TEDx events every day. And TED Talks online generate billions of views, proving the 18-minute rule works.

So what’s the reason? TED curator Chris Anderson says eighteen minutes is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out 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.

Anderson says by forcing speakers 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.”

Now that’s not something politicians are known for.

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Brian Banmiller

About Brian

CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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