Shrinking mp3 files

I’m trying to shrink an spoken word audio file down to a manageable size but can’t get as low as I need. I’m down to 2.88meg at 32kbps but would rather not go any lower with the bit rate. Is it possible to make it mono but still have sound in both headphones? Will this reduce the file size?

I really need an answer asap as I have to complete this for work. Answers appreciated.

A “2.88meg” mp3 is not large: it is about the same as one pop tune, a typical mp3 player can store a hundred of those.
Maybe you mean 2.88Gb, Gb is 1000x bigger than mb (“meg”), perhaps because you are saving your audio in an uncompressed format, e.g. WAV.
Converting a .wav file into .mp3 format will reduce the file size to 1/10th (approximately) without reducing the sample rate and sacrificing sound quality.

When you are saving “exporting” your large .wav file In Audacity 1.3, change the “save as type” from WAV to “MP3 files” and a much smaller mp3 version will be saved, which will only use about 1/10th the amount of disk space as the uncompressed original WAV file.

Assuming that you are working from the original WAV file, you can turn it into mono then compress it to 24kbps and still get sound quality equivalent to (or better than) 32kbps on a stereo file. The mono file should play through both speakers (just like listening to a mono radio transmission on headphones).