“If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
For those of us whose work involves talking in front of groups, brevity is the hardest thing. I used to think the opposite, that the hour-long keynote and the 45 minute sermon were products of weeks filled with grueling preparation by an expansive mind. But I find now that talking for a long time makes me less nervous than talking for a short time.
A short address requires many, many more decisions by the speaker than a long one, which might make it a very useful appraisal of leadership. After all, that’s what we asked you here to do: make decisions.