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9 Minutes or Less



In Sheena Iyengar’s TED Talk, “The Art of Choosing”, she cites a study that claims that CEOs make “50 percent of their decisions in 9 minutes or less.” This statistic reinforces the concept that we have to convey our core message clearly and succinctly if we want to capture the decision-maker’s attention. There’s simply no time for extraneous details and explanations.

So how can this statistic guide the choices we make as efficiency sales professionals? Let’s break nine minutes down into pieces: 

You want to allow the CEO at least five minutes to think about the decision after he or she has the necessary facts to understand the project. This leaves us with only four minutes to get our message across. If the average person can read a couple hundred words per minute, you should budget no more than about 400 words – or two minutes reading time – in your written proposal for the CEO to review. Your remaining “budget” of two minutes will go toward a review of your one-page financial summary in which you have crunched the numbers for the project. 

If you can get your message across in this short amount of time, you put yourself head and shoulders above all of your competitors who are trying to sell with crazy 100-page proposals, overly complex executive summaries, and even more opaque financial analyses with multi-spreadsheet workbooks.

Interested in watching Sheena Iyengar’s TED talk? Watch it here.

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Read more blogs on Communication, Decision Making, Prospecting

Posted by Mark Jewell