Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 1, 2018

Boring Speakers Talk Longer

NatureNature, Do Boring Speakers Really Talk For Longer?:

Dull talks at conferences can feel interminable. Or could it be that they really do go on for longer?

I investigated this idea at a meeting where speakers were given 12-minute slots. I sat in on 50 talks for which I recorded the start and end time. I decided whether the talk was boring after 4 minutes, long before it became apparent whether the speaker would run overtime. The 34 interesting talks lasted, on average, a punctual 11 minutes and 42 seconds. The 16 boring ones dragged on for 13 minutes and 12 seconds (thereby wasting a statistically significant 1.5 min; t-test, t = 2.91, P = 0.007).

For every 70 seconds that a speaker droned on, the odds that their talk had been boring doubled. For the audience, this is exciting news. Boring talks that seem interminable actually do go on for longer.

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It only seems longer because they're boring

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Oct 2, 2018 11:04:01 PM