How To Make Your Two Minutes Count

by drjim on March 24, 2009

How Would You Use Two Minutes To Make Your Point?

How Would You Use Two Minutes To Make Your Point?

When you speak to an audience, how long do you talk for: 60 minutes, 30 minutes, 10 minutes? Any of these are normal answers. What would you do if you only had two minutes to get your point across?

In my neck of the woods, a developer wants to build a gas station at the entrance to my neighborhood. There are good sides and bad sides to such development, but the neighborhood has decided that this is not something that they want to happen.

The way that you stop things like this from occurring is that you go down to city hall and attend a zoning hearing. At this hearing both sides get to present their sides and a hearing master will end up making a decision. The trick is that both sides were limited to 15 minutes of talking. Lots of people wanted to voice their objections so I was looking at having only 2 of those 15 minutes in which to speak. What could I say in order to have an impact?

When I sat down to get ready to figure out what I would say, I realized that I was dealing with no more than about 300 words (150 words /min x 2 min = 300 words). I knew that I needed to throw in some facts and stats for the zonning hearing master, but then I also needed to come up with some sound bites that any reporters who were attending could use as quotes.

So what did I come up with? You be the judge if any of these would stick in your mind if you hear them:

  • If this gas station is permitted to be built, the zoning laws will have to be changed in order to account for the mountain of roadside memorials that will appear due to drunk drivers.
  • The County might be tempted to change zoning rules in order to generate more revenue ; however, just like a teenager who gets a tattoo this would be a bad idea that the County would end up having to live with forever.
  • A gas station that is open 24-hours a day and which is located close to a major highway will act like a bug light for all manner of criminals who are seeking an easy score.

The next day one of my “image statements” was quoted in the local paper. Not too shabby for a two minute speech!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kare anderson March 26, 2009 at 11:42 am
Ken Parmer March 29, 2009 at 1:09 am

” So what did I come up with? You be the judge if any of these would stick in your mind if you hear them:”

My guess would be, ”
A gas station that is open 24-hours a day and which is located close to a major highway will act like a bug light for all manner of criminals who are seeking an easy score. ”

I am not sure that a fact but I would guess it worked. smile.

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Dr. Jim Anderson March 31, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Ken: now that would work! I think that using the mental image of a bug light is what does it – folks can almost hear it buzzing and snapping on a summer’s eve. These are the mental “pictures” that stay with people long after the talking is all done…

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Nick Bonnenfant February 16, 2011 at 6:29 am

I like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and reporting! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

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