How long can you hold their attention?

Think it takes much to get and hold an audience’s attention?

Consider this:

Jerry Seinfeld, arguably one of the world’s biggest comics, reveals the difficulty of being in front of an audience in the movie, Comedian.

When he decides to go on the road to test new material, Jerry says that it’s not as easy as you might think. He can walk on the stage anywhere, even a small town, and it’s clear that the audience knows he’s one of the most accomplished performers of modern times, with over $1 B of television revenue. They’re thrilled to be in the presence of a man so popular and funny. But the thrill doesn’t last long.

“I have about 3 minutes where they will just listen to whatever I have to say,” Seinfeld says. “But after that – it can fall apart fast. I get no credit. After 3 minutes, I have to be just as funny as any other comedian. That’s it – 3 minutes.”

And there’s more to the story. Seinfeld became aware of the 3-minute mark because it takes him as long as a month of full-time work to build up just 3 minutes of quality content. When he first goes out on tour, that’s about all the material he starts with. 3 minutes. It takes him months more of steady work to build up 20 minutes of material that can hold an audiences’ attention.

That’s worth thinking about.

One of the most well-known performers and presenters in the world has to put in months of hard work to build up 20 minutes of material – and when he eventually goes on stage, the average audience will cut him slack for only 3 minutes. After that, the material had better be really good, or the audience will turn on him.”   Pitch Anything, Oren Klaff

Think your audiences are more forgiving than Jerry Seinfeld’s? Probably not.


If you want to be thoughtful about and motivated in speaking, whether to build business or referral sources, consider developing your pitch so you get through and get a good reception.

If you’d like to work  on this together, reach out to me so I can discover what you’re like to work with.

Merri Bame


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