All best plans of delivering your presentation, pitch or speech can be scuppered. Sometimes you will not have the luxury of presenting in a 20-minute slot with your well prepared supporting slides. Instead you’ll be asked to deliver a précised version in 5 minutes to make up time at an overrunning conference or event. Believe me, it happens, particularly when lunch is involved. This is when you have to make every word count, to have impact. A case of quality not quantity. Your delivery can be just as powerful.
Here’s 5 tips to help…
1. Why are you there? If you’ve been asked to speak, presentation or pitch, be clear on why and what your subject or topic is. This way you can make your speech relevant to the audience you’re addressing. If you’re there to offer services or goods, and you launch straight in with a full on sales pitch, the audience may well switch off. Break the audience in gently. Use examples of issues and problems solved, which the audience relate too, make it relevant.
2. Remember me? How many times have you come away from an event and been unable to recall the presenters or what they had to say? Engage with your audience. It sounds simple and yet most presentations aren’t memorable. Find the stories that will make you stand out from the crowd. In a 5-minute presentation, don’t overwhelm the audience, select one key story that supports your message.
3. Humour. This isn’t an opportunity for you to try out your stand-up comedy set. Good use of humour will make your audience language naturally. It puts both you and your audience at ease. This comes with practice, having an audience helps. What you think is funny, may not actually be. A bonus of practising at a Toastmasters International speaking club, the audience will provide you with feedback.
4. Think on your feet. With only 5 minutes to deliver your message, sales pitch or presentation with the supporting materials out the window, improvising is the name of the game. Know your material, this way there’s no need for notes and you can interact with your audience. Asking the audience, a question is a good way of connecting. Give them direction, if you raise your hand, the audience will raise their's.
5. Keep calm and carry on. Missed something? The audience will never know, honestly, that is, unless you tell them. The transition points from one part of your talk to another, these are the elements to remember. If you’ve jumped over a key point, then add it in when you’re winding up. If the audience are interested in knowing more, they’ll contact you.
When you have had you’re 5 minutes, stay around, be available and ready for questions, hand out your business cards, supports materials etc… When the audience seeks you out, then you know that your message was received loud and clear.
By Helena Brewer, Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are nearly 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7000 members. Find your local club. Follow on Twitter.