Early on in my professional career, I found myself leading a 6-person team that was running in 100 different directions daily. The more time I spent trying to manage each task, budget, and program, the less control I felt I had. That was when I implemented something that changed the game for our team: the morning stand up meeting.

This meeting was a quick, daily touch point where each team member would report on what they were working on for that day and give the team an update on the progress they had made. During this time, we rotated through giving quick 5-minute presentations focused on casting vision and inspiring the team to buy in to their specific project.

While these meetings changed the game for our team overall, allowing our team to stay in tune with what each member was working on, a problem arose. What were supposed to be quick 5-minute presentations had a tendency to become long, drawn out rambles which would lead to disengagement and sore feet; after all, as the name explains, our team was standing during the duration of these meetings.

Maybe you’ve found yourself in a similar position as me and my team – tasked with a 5-minute window of time to deliver a compelling synopsis of your latest project or invited to share a 5-minute inspiring story at your latest all-staff meeting. Whatever the environment, the team at Ethos3 has come up with a few keys to mastering the art of the 5-minute presentation so that you don’t risk a disgruntled (and tired) audience.

Stick to your time.

The number one way to lose the attention of your audience during a 5-minute presentation is to speak for 6 minutes or more. When you are given 5 minutes, an expectation is set. Your audience expects that at 4 minutes and 59 seconds, you will be done and they will be enriched by what you shared. In a way, you have entered in to an unofficial contract with your audience. The minute you cross that time threshold, you breach that contract and your audience begins to get critical. Your professionalism begins to decrease, and no matter how good the content was, your audience loses interest.

If you are out of time and did not share everything you felt was important, thank your audience and let them know you are available to answer any questions after the meeting. You could also consider sending out a follow up email with the remaining information if necessary.

Share the most important thing first.

Five minutes goes quickly, and as a presenter, it can feel like warp speed. Knowing the importance of hitting your time limit, you should always start by sharing the most important information first. There is not a lot of time to build a story arc or work your way toward a big close. Instead, consider opening with a quick introduction and then get right to the meat of your presentation. When you start with the important stuff, you are sure to share everything you need even if you run out of time.

Create a Hot Sheet.

On my team, there was one particular member who could not hit the 5-minute mark for anything. No matter how hard he tried, he always found himself over the limit. As the stress of the time limit hung over his head, he would get flustered and, ultimately, not be able to share important information with the team. I considered eliminating his turn altogether or, instead, asking him to update us with just one thing he was working on, but I did not want to limit his creativity in the process. Knowing this time was important for team bonding, we decided to create the Hot Sheet.

The Hot Sheet is a single-page update that was handed out by each team member before their 5-minute presentation. This sheet shared the big ideas they were processing, the tasks that needed to be completed, and an accountability note for the team to hold them to. By handing out this sheet, our struggling team member did not feel the weight of sharing everything since the team had already read it. Instead, he could choose to highlight certain bits of information which cut down on his overall time.

Cut the fluff.

As presenters, we all spend time working to get our audience to like us. We use stories and illustrations to inspire them and engage them on a new level. When you are under a severe time constraint, these filler items have to go. The reality is, that one story or joke could take up the entirety of your 5 minutes, leaving the main message unheard.

While it is still important to connect with your audience and get to know them, consider opening with a quick fact about yourself and then dive into the content. Then, invite your audience to connect with you after the presentation to learn more about you. Another great way to connect with your audience with little time spent is by showing a photo of yourself and your family; the feeling of meeting someone’s family, even if through a photo, will automatically connect your audience closer to you as they feel like they have received an inside look at your life.

Create an infographic.

Infographics are a great tool to use in light of a full-length slidedeck and a powerful tool to bring your content to life visually. They take boring statistics and turn them into a beautiful visual that sticks with your audience far greater than anything you will say during your quick presentation. In fact, visual information increases retention by a whopping 42%, so use those visuals to your advantage.

If the idea of creating an infographic seems impossible, don’t worry – the team at Ethos3 would love to help you design it from scratch. Or, click here to gain some tips on how to turn a slidedeck into an infographic.

Share a sticky statistic.

When presenting in a short window of time, it is important that your audience remembers what you shared. Statistics are a great way to ensure that happens. However, it is vital that you select a sticky statistic. That means making sure your statistic is easily remembered and will continue to pop up in the minds of your audience long after your 5 minutes are over.

Sticky statistics should get your audience thinking. They should be easy to remember, and they should spark further conversation between you and audience members after the presentation is over. You know a statistic has been sticky when you hear it being discussed around the water cooler.

Short and concise presentations are part of every presenter’s career at one point or another. While they seem like they could be the easiest type of presentation you deliver, the fact is they can easily become ineffective and distracting. With these keys, you have everything you need to knock your next 5-minute presentation out of the part and set yourself apart as an ultra-effective presenter.

Have a full blown presentation coming up? Unsure of where to start? Contact our team today to find out how we can make your next presentation a success.

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