In our fast-moving, sound-bited workplace, we are often asked to be really intelligent and cogent in a short amount of time, without much preparation. Panel presentations sometimes allow only 6 minutes to make your point, show your expertise, and encourage your potential customers or clients to speak to you after the event. Sometimes you get 10 minutes, or two opportunities of 4 minutes each. It’s a lot of pressure.
Here are some guidelines for short form brilliance in public speaking:
- The audience will only remember two things you say, so only make two points.
- Back up your two points with two supporting assertions or examples.
- Do not tell stories (an example is not a story) — the shortest story will take you 3 minutes to deliver, and you will run out of time to show your value.
- Align your two key points with your highest value proposition — the best two features of your products, or the best results of your consultancy. You want the audience to remember your best offerings.
- After you have presented your two points and two supporting examples, draw a conclusion.
- A conclusion is an assertion of the value of your offering (product or expertise) presented as key results of engaging with you or your product. Or it is a mild threat of the consequences of not engaging with you or your product. Both approaches are the final statement that reflects the self-interest of the audience to contact you.
Some simple preparation can make your few minutes of fame effective in getting to the next step — the only step you want from these presentations — interesting prospects seeking you out for more information.