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Sunday, September 23, 2007


Make your point in 5 minutes

Less time doesn't mean less impact. Here are tips to make your presentation short and sweet yet strong and effective.

You have been preparing for a big presentation. Suddenly you are asked if you can get your message across within five minutes as plans have changed.
Don't panic. For today's television generation, sound bites can be more powerful than lengthy dissertations.
Here's how you can compress your speech without losing impact:

  • Do not apologise or mention that you usually have much more time. Be confident that you can communicate in five minutes.
  • Begin fast. Start with an attention-getting statement such as, "Your job won't exist five years from now," or "In the next five minutes, I want to convince you the best action you can take is..."
  • Use a strongly visual story. Illustrate your points - how it is now, how it will or could be - with a story so vivid that the audience can "see" it.
  • Divide your five minutes into three parts. Present a problem, a payoff, and your point of view: "The No. 1 piece of advice I can give you today is..." Your story illustrates your idea, and your walk-away line could be what will happen if they do what you suggest.
Positive thinking
Now that your presentation is prepared, take some time to relax before your talk - even if you are going to be on stage for just five minutes.
You have probably heard that the fear of death is second only to the fear of public speaking.
That may be true, but if you are looking for one of the cheapest and most effective methods of promoting your service or product, concentrate on the positive results of doing a presentation.
Think of the contacts and prospective clients you will be generating with just a few minutes in front of an audience.

Physical preparation
If accentuating the positive is not enough to keep the butterflies in your stomach in line, take time to work through the following exercises before you step up to the podium.
They help you to channel all that nervousness into energy.
  1. If you are wearing high heels, take them off. Now, stand on one leg and shake the other. When you put your foot back on the ground, it is going to feel lighter than the other one. Now, switch legs and shake. You want your energy to go through the floor and out of your head. This may sound quite cosmic but it is a practical technique used by actors.
  2. Shake your Hold them above your head, bending at the wrist and elbow and then bring your hands back down. This will make your hand movements more natural.
  3. Warm up your face muscles by chewing in a highly exaggerated way. Do shoulder and neck rolls. Imagine you are at eye level with a clock. As you look at "12", pull as much of your face up to "12" as you can. Next, move it to "3", then down to "6" and finally over to "9".
These exercises help you to warm up and relax. The exaggerated movements make it easier for your movements to flow more naturally.
Now, concentrate on the people you will be impressing with your short talk.
Go on, step up on the podium and profit from the experience.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Fri, September 21, 2007
by Patricia Fripp,]

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