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Five minute presentation tips
Communication and advocacy are generic competencies for public health and being able to get the essentials of a message across, in a short amount of time, is a skill increasingly needed in the 21st century. The conference committee is eager to receive abstracts for speed presentations.
A short speech can be more compelling than a longer one; it took less than five minutes for Abraham Lincoln to deliver his immortal Gettysburg Address where he summarized the Civil War in under ten sentences.
Here are some tips to help you along:
Dig deep: you still need to do enough research to understand your topic and extract the essence of your talk.
Simple is: narrow down your topic to one core concept. That means honing and rehoning your presentation, getting rid of everything that is not related to your absolute critical message. Questions to consider include:
Some presenting experts say listeners forget more than 60 percent of what you have told them, within an hour! The solution is to “paint a picture”, not just a series of facts. One stat may be fine to reinforce a point. But if you want to create a memorable presentation tell a story.
Practise, practise: rehearsal is critical for a short presentation. You have no time to pause or collect your thoughts. To engage your listeners you'll need to be smooth not bumbling. If you practice, you will also get a good idea of how long it will take. Tape yourself and listen back. You will pick up the stronger and weaker parts. You will discover what to delete and what to elaborate on.
Lead with wow: you'll have little time to build a case or draw your audience in. The best approach is to lead with a compelling or controversial position.
Stay within the five minutes: Even compelling speakers lose their audience if they go over the allotted time. Audience members start focusing on the fact that the speaker is going way over time and that is the part of the presentation they remember.
Make a plan: allow a minute for the opening, one minute for each of the three points you want to make and one minute for the close. If you think of it in five parts, it will be a lot easier to plan. Also, it never hurts to come in a little under the time limit. Everyone will appreciate it and it will mark you as a professional.
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