Fit Focus Flair

If you only have 5 minutes to prepare for a presentation, what should you do?

Ok. it’s not ideal but sometimes were called upon to make a speech with little or no time to prepare, so what do we do?  We spend the time on structure not content, that’s what.

Structure is the skeleton of the speech and just enough structure allows us the freedom to fill in the gaps off the ‘top of our heads’ or extemperaneously as our US cousins might say.  The bare bones of a speech structure includes-

  1. the point to be made
  2. a strong beginning,
  3. a releveant and focused middle and
  4. a punchy ending

So with 5 minutes to prepare here’s what you might do minute by minute-

Minute 1 – Decide on the point- the main idea that you want to convey to your audience.

Minute 2 – Find the right beginning- think of a good example, a fascinating fact or relevant story you can tell to bring your point to life and capture the audience’s attention.

Minute 3 – Create a simple ‘storyboard’ or outline- Grab a beer mat, fag-packet or scrap of paper and write down a couple of words to remind you of your key points point, example and a few essential things that you might not otherwise remember.

Minute 4 – Practice giving the first and the last bits of your speech – out loud if you can (I’ve scared many a neighbour in a toilet cubicle like this) or  in your own head if you really can’t – perhaps you’re already  in the room and maybe your boss has just asked you to give a quick update on something.

Minute 5 – Focus in to the room, the people, what’s being said and the mood- look at your outline one more time, think of what your first sentence will be when you start. Then just ‘tune in’ to what’s happening so that you can matchyour opening remarks to what’s gone before .

Good luck, you won’t need it.

This is a part of my Fit, Focus & Flair model. To be great, a presentation must be a perfect FIT for the situation; the content must have complete FOCUS on it’s purpose and message; and it must have enough FLAIR to stand out on the day, and in our memories. Learn more about developing your Fit, Focus and Flair.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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