Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes.” Today we quip, “Less is more.” When planning your next presentation, remember the beauty of brevity.

A popular misconception is that the sixty-minute presentation is more effective or valuable than the thirty-minute presentation. In reality, large quantities of information can compromise quality. When I review a client’s presentation, I immediately recognize opportunities to pare down content for more punch and fewer digressions. Audiences appreciate tighter presentations that stay on-point and fall within the allotted time.

When clients put together a presentation, they often ask, “Is that long enough?” Unless they must fill a half hour time slot, the question isn’t about the clock, the question is “Does it accomplish our objective?” The Old Man and the Sea is so short it was first published in Life magazine—it won the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize for literature. William Kennedy’s Ironweed is a little longer and also won the Pulitzer Prize. You could read Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager in its entirety during your lunch hour, and it has sold millions of copies. Lean and mean has impact.

A presentation need not be eternal to be immortal. Do what you must to accomplish your objective, but don’t assume that longer presentations accomplish more than one delivered in half the time. You’ll have less to memorize and your audience will be delighted.

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