Every great public speech, presentation or sermon

Mr Bean in Church

That you’ve ever heard, if some recent chatter coming out of Sydney is to be believed, is at LEAST 45 minutes long. Or, however long you think a presentation, sermon or church talk ought to be so as not to be considered “short“.

The banter erupted when someone made a suggestion that Sydney based Anglican ministers limit their sermons to 20 minutes. Hilarity ensued as all sorts of “experts” protested that they couldn’t possible explain something so complex as a Bible passage in less than 40 minutes. Although the actual number of minutes varied, the general consensus was something along the line of, “If it’s too short than I’m not doing a good job as a speaker.”

There were also the usual remarks about the level of maturity among those in a congregational audience that could not endure a presentation unless it was short. Accusations flew back and forth attacking the professionalism of anyone who offered short presentations. Surely there is something suspect in the character of a speaker who only does short talks. Or, so the argument went.

The timely truism remains though, that the mind will only absorb what the seat can endure. Quantity does not equal quality. Large or small.

Aaron Beverly in his 2016 World Championship Toastmasters speech makes a point from which a lot of public speakers, in Sydney (and of Sydney), may benefit. Essentially, saying more doesn’t mean people will remember what you said.

Aaron makes his point in 7 minutes and 10 seconds. How many ministers and speakers can do that?

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