Why more may not be better. At least as far as I am concerned…
I was doing research on the “18 Minute Rule” and skill development and stumbled upon some really interesting information about people’s attention span and their ability to remain focused on a topic and remember the information presented.
I have an extremely short attention span (and I am not even a Gen X, Y or Z) and never have made it all the way through a Ted Talk because they were all to all be at least about an hour long and seemed to drone on forever.
Then I found that Ted now limits their “talks” to a mere eighteen (18) minutes. Really? Since when? Who cares? Okay, but why only “18 Minutes”? That assaults my OCD “Base 10” training. Why not 20? Again, who cares?
So I went down the rabbit hole (as I so often do) to find out the “why” behind that. I read a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo and the resulting “opinions” of desk chair experts.
But, after all my “skimming” of articles (because I don’t read an entire article anyway) one thing became clear to me. The “18 Minute Rule” is backed by neuroscience and the avoidance of “cognitive overload”. It’s the basic premise behind the popular and highly-effective educational method called “micro-learning”.
I get it. I don’t need a PhD to buy into something that people smarter than me have already figured out. I don’t need an electrical engineering degree to flip on a light switch. I get it.
I have a very dear friend that once described me as “a guy who couldn’t spell his name in 30 minutes. Much less do a presentation in that time”. I suppose that it was his affectionate way of saying I am verbose.
In any event, from now on I plan to limit my “talks”, regardless of what they are to 18 minutes or less. Or, at the very least, limit my “segments” to that timeframe. It just makes too much sense to me based on my exhaustive “18 Minutes” of research.
If you want to save some time, here is the article that summed the entire concept up for me in less than 18 minutes. Don’t take my word for it, because MY PhD must have gotten lost in the mail: