circus campaigns of 2016 slog on, I’m reminded of an important point about public speaking. It’s summarized in this quote I heard once, and never forgot:
“Some speakers break the golden rule I fear, they go ahead and give a speech…that they would hate to Hear!”
How many people do you think politicians have killed with their speeches? How many people have passed on while you talked?
What kind of question is that?
Let’s do a little math.
I haven’t got the iron constitution necessary to review the length of current candidates’ speeches, so I’ll use some figures from State of the Union speeches.
The average length of State of the Union addresses for the last 9 presidents is about 49 minutes.
The last State of the Union address had an estimated audience of about 31 million viewers/listeners. There were certainly fewer listeners to the State of the Unions back in the 1960s, but maybe more. To be conservative (mathematically, not politically), let’s say the average listening audience over the last 5 decades was about 15.5 million…half the current figure.
49 minutes average length of S.O.U. X 15,500,000 average # of listeners = 759,500,000 minutes of cumulative time people spend listening to that presidential speech.
Average life span of people in the U.S. (men and women) = 78.7 years or in other words, 41,049,360 minutes not counting leap years.
So if you divide those two figures, cumulative minutes listening by the number of minutes in the average life span, that equals…
18.5 lives that the average State of the Union speech costs!
So that is a large figure in what may be one of the biggest speeches. But what about your next speech or talk? Have you done the math?
If you’re asked to give a 15 or 30-minute speech or presentation, and you’re not well-prepared, then you’re not just wasting 15 to 30 minutes of peoples’ time…you’re wasting the length of your speaking X the number of people in the room or audience who have to listen to you.
I think that when you read about one of the top fears being public speaking, it must be that people are afraid of listening to other people’s public speaking…it’s really costing them their lives (when taken cumulatively).
If you’re scared of speaking or presenting in front of a group, you’re probably not scared enough.
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