Can you sum up your 40 minute talk in less than 2 minutes?

If you can’t, you’re not an effective communicator.

As a teacher or communicator to any group of people, I think too often we get caught up in appeal of hearing our own voices. I think for some, they think that if they say more, they’ll actually say more… when in reality, by saying more you are probably saying less. This played out for me this week when Abigail, my wife, asked me a question about a talk I’m doing for our college students. Knowing I didn’t have a lot of time, I summed it up in about 40 seconds – and it actually helped her!

Here are some tips in preparation for a talk:

  1. If you can’t say what you need to say in less than 2 minutes, what are you actually saying?
  2. People only remember one (maybe two) things you say when you speak; so why do you have 9 points to your sermon?
  3. If you can’t tweet it, delete it. Say what you’re going to say in 140 characters; if unable, rethink it.
  4. Always try to find ways to communicate depth simply.
  5. Say what you need to say; but find different ways to say it and people will remember it more often.