Jabbers and blabbers

At Freakonomics, Ian Ayres, of stickK.com, thinks the phrase, “I’ll be brief,” is cheap talk, and proposes a libertarian paternalism commitment device to stop speakers from blabbering on.

Groups might develop a norm to have speakers publicly estimate how many minutes they intend to speak before they begin: Instead of saying, “I’m going to be brief,” it would be a stronger commitment to say to the moderator, “Please interrupt me if I speak more than X minutes.”…

The individual speakers retain the freedom to speak as long as they want, and this new verbal convention would give all of us a credible commitment device. The problem of speakers droning on at conferences and meetings isn’t one of the biggest problems in the world — but it is an example where cognitive error leads to a persistent dysfunction.

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One Response to “Jabbers and blabbers”

  1. John Says:

    In my dream, technology-assisted facilitation setting, there would be a running summary–automatically kept & conspicuously displayed–of each participant’s total time spent talking in a meeting. (There’s an analogy here with the current and average MPG display in some new cars.)

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