Personally, I think Rand could have cut 200 pages quite easily. The speech at the end of the book alone would take three hours to read aloud, according to an Atlas Shrugged FAQ.
I can barely sit through the three-hour version of “The Lord of the Rings,” much less read or listen to a three-hour speech.
Modern speaking tends to go no longer than 45-60 minutes at a time, but it is still important to edit. Too many speakers fall in love with their words and phrases, insist they must cover every detail of their subject, or simply don’t understand how to get to the bottom line before their audience wants to escape.
Here are a few signs you should edit your speech:
1. Your speech has more than one overall point.
If your speech is about saving the environment and supporting the health care program, you could use both ideas as supporting points in a speech about political philosophy. But, then the one overall point is political philosophy.
2. You present points as sound bites instead of stories.
When you tell me what you want without showing me why you want it, you waste your breath and my time.
3. You present more than one point every four to six minutes.