Your One Minute Takeaway

60secDave Ramsey, in his first-rate, 9-week course, Financial Peace University, has a great little exercise at the end of each session. It’s called the One Minute Takeaway. A large 1-minute clock appears on the screen. As it ticks down, participants are asked to answer two questions:

  • What jumped out at you in this lesson?
  • How can this affect your story?

Ramsey is acknowledging that you cannot possibly remember everything you hear in 60 minutes. However, writing down what most impacted you helps you focus.

Simple.  Effective.

So let’s all agree that we are in an information deluge of Noahic proportions.

(Thank you.)

Let’s also agree that everyone needs to say what they’re going to say in fewer words.

(Oh, never mind.)

This interests me because of the high value I place on the preaching and teaching of the Bible. Fact is, the amount of instruction you remember compared to how much you hear is miniscule. Research by educationist Edgar Dale shows that we retain about 5% of what we hear. Throw in some visual/video and you may bump it up to 20%.

Think about that in regard to biblical instruction.

However, we’re not just looking for information retention, are we? We’re looking for life change. Well-known pastor and speaker, Andy Stanley, in his excellent book, Communicating for a Change, calls this life change versus information transfer.

Stanley says communicators should ask themselves two questions:

  • What is the one thing I want my audience to know?
  • What do I want them to do about it?

For listeners, these are essentially the same questions Dave Ramsey asks:

  • What is one thing I have learned in this message/teaching?
  • What should I do about it?

So here’s my suggestion. At the end of every preached message or teaching session, ask yourself those two questions.  And write down the answers. Right then. Before you leave.



  • Write them down.
  • Then act on them.

Invest in your One Minute Takeaway. Then take it and make it happen.

Is this something you already practice? If not, would it be helpful?



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Erin on March 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

    We are doing this sort of thing in a women’s bible study with scripture. Then, we are discussing it if anyone feels like sharing. It is such a fun way to walk through the Word and grow along side each other. Thanks for the recommendation to do this after a sermon. I will keep you posted<3


  2. Tonight I was involved with a group of women discussing “Women Mentoring Younger Women” and at the end I gave the women time to write down their one minute takeaway. What a great focuser. xo Carolyn


  3. Love, love, love this. To refocus people on the takeaway is so important or else they begin to despair that they can’t possibly remember every great thing they are hearing. And I love the trend toward “stories”. Donald Miller is doing it in his storyline blog and conferences. Information will only affect our stories as it becomes transformative in our lives. Thanks for this, Debra


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