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Mastering the Art of the Five Minute Presentation

The Five Minute Presentation

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The five minute presentation is the most challenging of all presentations to create and deliver. The five minute presentation from an audience perspective is more engaging and less boring than a typical sixty minute talk.

Creating a compelling, focused speech with a single message is the ultimate goal of the five minute presentation. Whether you are crafting the five minute presentation for a venture capital pitch, selling a product, or educating an audience -- the creation process is the first vital step. But is five minutes enough time?

What Can Be Accomplished in Five Minutes?

Five minutes doesn't seem like much time to accomplish anything but keep in mind the insight of George Matthew Adams:

  • Napoleon wrote that the reason he beat the Austrians was that they did not know the value of five minutes.
  • It took Lincoln less than five minutes to deliver his immortal Gettysburg Address.
  • In less than five minutes William Jennings Bryan electrified a great political convention with but a single expression that gave him the nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Five Ways to a Successful Five Minute Presentation

Apply these five methods to your five minute presentation for a memorable means to engage your audience.

Dig Deep: Although your material is limited for your five minute presentation, you'll still need to do enough research to understand your topic and extract the essence of your talk.

Simple Is: Once you have the materials, narrow down your topic to one core concept. As stated by Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die state, "How do we find the essential core of our ideas? To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion." It's all about just one idea.

Practice, Practice: Rehearsal is critical for a short presentation. You have no time to pause or collect your thoughts. To engage your listeners you'll need to be smooth not bumbling.

Lead With Wow: During a five minutes presentation you have little time to build a case or draw your audience in. The best approach is to lead with a compelling or controversial position. Make them think right of the bat.

Tell a Story: A presentation full of facts, figures and statistics will quickly lose your audience. One stat may be fine to reinforce a point. But if you want to create a memorable presentation tell a story.

A great five minute presentation is more than enough time to get your funding, educate an audience or sell a client as well as a chance for your five minutes of fame.

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