Long Should You Talk?
studies in brain research indicate that during a 20 minute
presentation, the time that is spent absorbing and retaining
information, or "prime time" for tuning in, is approximately
18 minutes, or 90% of the total presentation time. During
a 40 minute presentation the prime time drops to 75% of the
total time. Presentations that are 80 minutes in duration
only command a 62% audience prime time, which means listeners
are in "down time" for 30 of those 80 minutes.
In the interest of efficiency, business presentations should
be shorter rather than longer. Presentations or speeches that
require a longer format should be designed with 20 minute
modules. This involves planning a major change every 20 minutes
in the form of a major move on the part of the speaker, a
change in the use of technology, or audience involvement.
Christina Kaya is Principal of Kayaco Seminars, specializing
in presentation skills development for business. She can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.