Short Time Slot, Big Impact

Next month Way Beyond Ordinary Speakers will be sponsoring a speakers speed showcase put on by the MN Women In Networking organization. This is a great opportunity for organization leaders to hear what messages, talents and gifts the members can share with others – AND it’s a great opportunity for speakers to get their message out there and be heard by business leaders and event organizers.


The Challenge

Each speaker has 4-5 minutes to shine. So, how do you deliver an informative, memorable, and moving speech in just 5 minutes? Here are a few simple tips to get you started in the right direction.


1. Know your goal – Remember, you have 5 minutes. There is no way you will ever be able to to effectively deliver everything you would like to in that time slot so you must get very clear about what your goal is. Spend some significant time here. Look at all of your options. Figure out which content chunk is going to be the most informative and give your audience a real taste of how you can benefit them and their organization.

2. Think big picture with a spotlight – Since you can’t say it all, determine how you can give a broad picture of your topic while still shining a spotlight on one key take away that delivers lasting benefit to the audience. What is the one thing you want everyone in the room to be scrambling to write down because it’s just THAT brilliant. If you were a photographer it would be your money shot.

3. Make a personal connection – You could be one of many speeches your audience hears in a day. In the case of the speed speakers showcase I mentioned audience members will hear as many as 10 speakers in just a couple of hours. Do you think they’ll remember everyone? Will they remember you? You can increase your odds of being memorable by finding a way to make a personal connection with each and every member of the audience. Depending on the size of your audience this can be challenging. One way to engage the entire group is to get them involved in your presentation. Many times we think we don’t have time for audience participation in such a short slot. I’ll argue, you don’t have time not to. Find a way to include the audience at least once in your speech, make them active listeners and active participants.

4.Rehearse – I know it’s only 4-5 minutes and it’s easy to think you know your stuff and “it’ll be easy to fill that slot.” Believe me when I tell you, 5 minutes is harder than 50. You must be concise, clear and engaging. You don’t have the luxury of building rapport over time or sharing inspiring stories that bring your message to life. If you want a shot at the longer slot, you have to make it count. Don’t leave that to chance.


And finally, have fun. When you’re delivering a message that you’re passionate about, that you are well educated in and you’re happy to be there sharing it, everyone in the room will feel your energy.

If you would like more information about the MN Women In Networking Speakers Speed Showcase look under the events tab at You can also check out this early post that includes a complete process for developing a presentation from scratch. Good luck!



6 Responses to Short Time Slot, Big Impact

  1. Great tips! i recently did a 10 minute speech and could have used these points. It would have also helped had I known I was going to have to speak but that’s another story. I love “the money shot” take away. the one thing they will be scrambling to right down. BRILLIANT!

  2. Thanks for the great tips and for sponsoring WIN’s Speakers Showcase events! I will share these tips with the speakers who have signed up. Thanks again and see you next week!

  3. Kelly Pratt says:

    Thanks Sheri! I’m excited to do this presentation… I too love the “money shot” tip…
    Any wise words about visuals? to Powerpoint or not to Powerpoint? If so, dos and dont’s??

  4. Sheri says:

    Thanks Kelly! You’ll be a great addition. Regarding visuals, personally, I’m a fan of visuals because I’m a visual learning. Having some kind of visual display whether it’s Powerpoint, flipcharts or props provides the audience with another means for connecting to your message. Cognitively, when we can connect a message to a visual image we have a much better chance of recalling the message at a later time. Think for example of a red octagon. Your brain automatically associates that image with the message to stop. Even before you see the words you know it’s meaning. Providing visuals gives your learners just one more tool to help them move your message to long-term memory.

    I will reiterate though – I’m talking about images. Pictures, diagrams, graphics – NOT words on a page. If you’re going to just drop rows and rows of words on to the screen, forget it. Now you’re asking your audience to read while you’re talking – does that make sense? Not to me and not to the brain. Use images and if you like, add a few key words that associate the image.

    Looking forward to hearing you talk Kelly!

  5. Kelly Pratt says:

    Great advice… and i completely agree about the images vs words! I’d better since my talk is about using images to identify your ideal client!! thanks for the tips!

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