The Five-Minute Presentation

August 24, 2011

Preparing to give a five-minute presentation doesn’t have to be nerve wracking if you prepare properly. Remember that every audience is different and needs a varied approach. To anticipate what your audience needs, write down what your audience might already know, what you want them to know, and what you would like them to get out of your presentation. For example, say your presentation is about your business; you’ll want to highlight what it is your business is offering and what sets it apart from other businesses, like competitive pricing, flexibility or the quality of your work.

In five minutes, you probably won’t have time to use a PowerPoint presentation, but you will be able to bring in examples of your work or materials such as brochures and business cards. Finally, jot down your main points on color-coded index cards. These will help you keep on track and stay concise. Write big enough so you can easily see what you wrote.

Next, rehearse! Don’t be afraid to give your presentation in front of a mirror or a trusted friend. Time yourself and become familiar with how much information you’ll be able to communicate within the five minutes. While rehearsing, make sure to use any props or examples that demonstrate your presentation.

Your appearance is just as important as your presentation. Remember, you’re also presenting yourself, not just your subject. Shoes need to be comfortable, and will play a part in how you walk and stand. Pick shoes that will give you confidence and stability. The same goes for clothes—dress appropriately.

When it’s time to make your presentation, take a deep breath to steady your nerves. Stand tall and balanced, keep your head up, say your name and then announce your presentation title clearly and with confidence. Hold your cards in one hand, do not place the cards on the dais or table, you’ll only end up talking to the dais or table instead of your audience. Embrace the audience with your eyes, and turn your head and body to all sides of the group. You’ll likely spot some audience members that will nod their head in agreement with what you’re saying, but be aware of not exclusively talking to them. Instead, talk to every single person in the audience.

Speak clearly, slowly, and pause slightly in between your two to three main points. Only refer to your printed promotional material, but do not hand them out during your presentation. Decide if you’ll distribute the material before your presentation or afterwards. Finally, finish with a positive note. You might even consider using a tag-line to end the presentation.

Before making your presentation, you might consider signing up for presentation training from Dale Carnegie Training to ensure that you’ll be well received and impart the information with the greatest clarity and ease.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia and Allentown, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Philadelphia and Allentown. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: Ambro

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