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Summary Chapter 7

TED’s 18-minute policy for its speakers is very efficient and innovative. It is a fundamental rule that has ensured creativity and brevity allowing it to conduct thousands of interviews since its inception. If you cannot fit it into 18 minutes, then you probably do not understand it as well as you think you do! In transmitting ideas, less is usually more. The 18-minute rule effectively guarantees presentations sufficient time to be comprehensive enough while being brief enough to maintain the concentration and attention of the audience. Presentation anxiety affects both the presenter and the audience though the pressure is significantly higher in the latter. This is because most presentations are designed with Q&A sessions at the end to determine its effectiveness. The amount of information has a direct relation to the levels of audience anxiety that increases as the presentation progresses. King asserts that cognitive exertion can be and is often more physically draining than sports. He discovered that breaking content into several smaller units increases student understanding and performance.

The brain requires a lot of energy to carry out cognitive functions. Its energy demands significantly increase when processing new information and that is why learning and decision-making are draining. It has been empirically proven that active thinking is an exhaustive process. Tolerance and willpower decrease as the day progresses due to depletion of glucose in the body and that is why people are edgier when they are hungry and tired. Brevity inspires creativity in both the audience and the presenter by giving just enough information to spark curiosity and imagination. Inspiring people to think for themselves is a great achievement for anyone. Creativity much like entrepreneurship, flourishes under constraints if there is just the right amount of courage. It begs the question “If this was your last 18 minutes on earth, what would you want your audience to remember?”

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