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Tag Archives: Presentations

How to deliver a great 5 minute presentation

5 minute presentations at business events are increasingly popular so here are some tips and ideas to make the most of your 5 minute opportunity.

Rule One : Don’t go over on time.

A 5 minute presentation should be just that. Not 6 minutes or 7 minutes or 10 minutes. 5 and only 5.

So how can you ensure that happens?

Firstly practice the presentation to take no more than 4 minutes. That will give you a one minute buffer on the day when your enthusiasm leads to elaboration which adds to your time.

Secondly don’t bumble around at the start – get straight in with an audience engaging statement, question or observation. Practice your first 15 seconds more than any other part of your presentation.

Rule Two : Apply the same structure to a 5 minute presentation as you would to a 25 minute one.

That means a strong start that outlines what’s coming up, a maximum of 3 key messages followed by a positive summary with an outline of the next steps you want the audience to take. All of those are possible in 5 minutes. Most 5 minute presenters don’t have a summary / next steps – often because they run out of time or they think its not a necessary part of a 5 minute presentation.

Rule Three : Don’t waste time at the start talking about yourself or your company

‘But isn’t that why I’m presenting?’ I hear you ask. As a member of your audience what I most want from your presentation are the following:

  • Things I don’t know, but ought or need to know, that will help my business
  • How your product or service is going to benefit me or my customers
  • Create for me a sense of momentum – ‘that’s a good idea I need to do that’

Achieve that and your audience will want o engage with you after your presentation.

If you spend 2 over 3 minutes of your 5 going on about how great you are, how many awards you’ve won, and then list your entire product or service range your audience will quickly switch off.

Presenting is all about audience engagement.

Rule Four : Allow twice as much preparation time for a 5 minute presentation as you would for a 25 minute one.

Its easy to think – it’s only 5 minutes I can easily fill that so I won’t need a lot of prep work. And that is the problem. It’s actually much harder to create a great 5 minute presentation than it is to create a great 25 minute one.

Generally presenters try and cram far too much into 5 minutes – hence the overrun on time most experience as well as the audience thinking ‘What actually am I supposed to takeaway from this?’

The key is to be a ruthless editor.

Every word, every image, every slide has to earn its place in a 5 minute presentation. You can get away with ‘fluffy’ content in a 25 presentation- not so in a 5 minute one.

One of the dangers when presenting as mentioned in Rule Three is thinking you need to cram in everything about your organisation and its products and services.

Rule Five : Check the venue and equipment

If you’ve only got 5 minutes to make an impact you need to use the venue you will be presenting at and the equipment available to your advantage.

That means checking in advance the size of the screen, the positioning of the projector, how you will link to the projector, the microphones if any, the audience seating arrangements.

If you are faced with a screen that is disproportionately small to the size of the audience, which is often the case, then you don’t want to be showing words on your slides that few in the audience will be able to read.

Don’t forget if there is only a fixed position microphone every time you move away from it or turn your back on it the audience may no longer hear you clearly. If you are to use a lapel mic get it all rigged up before you are due to present.

Rule Six : Don’t use A4 notes

If I see a presenter take the podium for a 5 minute presentation armed with A4 notes I immediately think three things:

  1. They don’t know their subject hence the need for the big notes.
  2. They haven’t done any practice so will be using a word for word script.
  3. With that many notes they are bound to take more than 5 minutes.

Use a postcard as a safety net with a few prompt words on it. One maybe two postcards is all you need for a 5 minute presentation. Any more than 2 and you now have a script not a prompt.

Rule Seven – have a Plan B if the equipment fails

I witnessed this recently where the slides simply refused to move forward. The presenter ploughed on regardless but the audience were distracted by two people entering the stage and trying to make the slides work.

It looked from the slide we did see that the presentation had been created using PDF’s – never a great idea and the PDF is usually originally designed for something else such as a brochure or web page.

It’s worth practicing the presentation without slides just in case. If you have a couple of props you could use have those on stand by.

You could of course ditch the slides completely. You will stand out if you do that, you will have no worries about screen sizes to contend with or equipment failing during your presentation. And you will get noticed and remembered as the person who didn’t use slides.

I do a business event presentation on growing sales with an old suitcase full of props instead of slides. It’s amazing how many people who see it mention the suitcase when I bump into them.

Final Rule : Look as though you are enjoying delivering the presentation.

Most people don’t like presenting, mainly because they don’t do it very often so it can feel unnatural and outside of their ‘comfort zone’.

Your audience though wants to be enthused by whatever you are presenting – otherwise what is the point of presenting?

So for 5 minutes, regardless of how you are feeling on the outside, give the impression you are enjoying presenting. It will have a positive effect on your audience who are used to sitting through their fair share of dour, boring, uninteresting presentations!

And you’ll feel good as well!!

If you want to make the most of your presentation opportunities and/or win more sales pitches you can reach me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or click here to email me.

For more presenting tips and advice check out my website :

And my podcast which also lots of presenting tips

You can find it on iTunes by searching for ‘attracting and retaining customers’ or follow this link :

Presentations and Kitchen Sinks

One of the dangers when presenting is thinking you need to cram in everything about your organisation and its products and services.

I witnessed an example of this at a business event last week.

The upshot?

Firstly the presentation ran way over time – a 10 minutes allocated slot became a 19 minute presentation. We, the audience, were warned this might happen when the presenter started by suggesting he had only just found out his time slot was less than he had expected – a lesson here in preparation!

The knock on affect was that the following speakers were under pressure and the whole event over-ran.

Secondly by using the kitchen sink approach the audience was left confused about what the actual message of the presentation was as the bombardment of information, supplemented by no less than 3 videos, was relentless.

Thirdly the onslaught was compounded by slides that were massively overly populated and made worse by a screen which was totally inadequate for the size of the room and the audience.

The key to a successful 10 minute presentation is focusing on no more than 3 messages and only delivering information that is relevant to the audience and is likely to be unknown by them.

There should be a natural flow not a series of random slides.

So here are some tips to help you deliver a great 10 minute presentation:

•Understand your audience and plan your presentation around what will be very relevant to them.

•Keep words on slides to a minimum – start with one word per slide and work up if you need to.

•Check the equipment that is available to you and build your presentation around its capabilities – in particular the size of the screen.

•Get straight in to your message. Resist the temptation to start by banging on about how great you are, the awards you’ve won etc….

•Don’t forget to have a strong finish with a clear call to action in terms of what you want the audience to do next.

•And finally to ensure you run to time practice delivering the presentation in 80% of your allocated time so if you have 10 minutes aim to deliver it in 8 during practice.

If you want to make the most of your presentation opportunities and/or win more sales pitches you can reach me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or click here to email me.

Engage your audience if you want to deliver a successful presentation in 2018

Engaging presentations – focus on your audience by delivering what they want to learn from you, not what they already know or could easily find out. 

If you want to deliver engaging presentations you have to engage your audience so why do so many presenters start off with loads of information about the company and themselves: “This is who we are, this is how great we are, this is our new logo, this is a picture of our building and all our staff, these are the awards we have won, these are the services or products we offer……etc..etc..etc..…”

Wow – I didn’t realise you were so great …..yawn, yawn, yawn.

As a member of the audience I don’t need to know about you or your company, I can easily find that out by going to your company website or looking at your personal LinkedIn profile.

If I’m in your audience I have given up my time to listen to you speak so:

I want to be educated and informed.

I want to know how to improve what I do.

I want to solve some of the problems I have within my business.

I want ideas that will help me attract new customers and generate more revenue.

I want to learn from your experiences of doing something different that would help me achieve my business goals.

I think you get the general idea.

So if you do get a presenting opportunity in 2018 focus your entire presentation around your audience. In so doing you will have a higher rate of engagement with them, they are much less likely to be bored by your presentation, and if you have demonstrated how you could solve their particular problem they may well want to hire your services. Make yours engaging presentations.

That’s it.

It’s all about the audience engagement.

Merry Christmas and good luck with your 2018 presentations.

If you would like to enhance your presentation skills or those of your company in readiness for your presentations and pitches in 2018 I would be delighted to help.

Please call me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via

Presentation and Pitch Tips

Making the most of your presentation and pitch opportunity

If you have a presentation coming up you will want to make the most of the opportunity that it offers.

So here are some tips to help you deliver an engaging, confident, knowledgeable and competent presentation that will win you business.

Big Start

Next time you attend an event with multiple presenters check how many of those speakers start with an apology, usually something about their voice, the cold they have just been struck down with etc… and then check how many make a tottering start by rambling on about nothing in particular or decide its a good idea to tell a joke or those who spend the first minute or so of their presentation checking everyone can hear them and working out the clicker works.

If you want to deliver a really good engaging presentation then don’t do any of the above!

Instead go straight in with a dramatic, bold statement or image that will immediately get the attention of your audience – “Did you know 64% of people living in this city don’t ….”

Your Promise

After the big start immediately follow up with your promise which is essentially what you are going to deliver to the audience during your presentation and why they should be interested in giving it and you their full attention.

“Ladies and Gentlemen over the next 15 minutes I’m going to show you three ways in which you can attract more customers to your business”.

Keep slides and words on slides to a minimum

I feel like I’m now on some sort of personal crusade to encourage all presenters to be ruthless editors when it comes to the use of slides. I just can’t see the point of filling a slide with words, words that most people in the audience may not be able to read because they are too far away from the screen.

If they can read the words they will do so rather than listening or looking at you.

And there is a temptation for you as the presenter to also start reading the words!

Slides should be seen as a prompt for your audience not a script for yourself.

Every slide and every image and every word on those slides has to earn its right to be part of your presentation. Be ruthless. If a word or image or slide is not needed  then drop it from the presentation.

If you are going to use slides my advice is start each slide with one word on it and then add more words if you really need to. This neatly leads me into my next tip:

Look at your audience

Try wherever possible to keep your eyes on your audience and not on the screen. Many presenters have a this natural tendency to keep looking at the screen even though their slide hasn’t changed and then they end up talking to the screen and not the audience. Eye contact with your audience will help you engage with them. What’s the point of you engaging with the screen!

Use your best presenter

If your presentation is a pitch to win business then you need to use the best presenter at your disposal. Usually that will be someone from within your company, but it might not be the person with the highest ranking job title.

More than one of you presenting

If your presentation involves more than one presenter then it’s really important that you have a clear understanding as to who is doing what, otherwise you can give the audience the impression that you are not a particularly organised company and that your people don’t work together very well.

My advice is that if you have two people on the presentation that one of them focuses on the introduction, the opening, the summary and handling the questions whilst the other person delivers the core messages and the detailed content within those messages.

If you have three people involved in the presentation I would stick to the same structure as above but share the key messages between two of the presenters.

And finally regardless of how experienced you are as a presenter or how easy you think it will be to deliver the presentation or win the pitch you need to set aside plenty of time for Preparation and Practice

When I work with individuals and companies helping them deliver really great presentations I bang on about just how important Preparation and Practice are.

So much so that they top and tail my 8P’s of presenting model which covers:

Preparation, Purpose, People, Promise, Plan, PowerPoint, Performance, Practice.

If you would like to enhance the presentation skills or you or your company in readiness for your presentations and pitches in 2018 I would be delighted to help.

Call me on 07785 390717 or email me via

How to avoid delivering a boring presentation

‘Death by Powerpoint’!

We’ve all experienced it!

So how can you avoid delivering a boring presentation?

Here are some thoughts and ideas:

Immediately engage your audience

Your audience will be making a decision within the first 30 seconds of your presentation as to whether they think you are worth paying attention to so you need a dynamic and exciting start.

So why do many presenters start by fiddling around with the clicker, making excuses for their voice, trying to crack a joke, checking if everyone can hear them or mumbling along about nothing in particular?

Launch straight in with a bold statement, a thought provoking observation, prop or image. Use your voice and body language to create a positive, audience engaging environment right from the start.

Slides are boring

Or at least having too many can be. Do you actually need slides? If you do then be a ruthless editor and ensure each slide earns its place in your presentation.

Words on slides are really boring

Why oh why do so many presenters feel it necessary to fill their slides with so many words? As an audience member I don’t want your script on screen, I want the odd word that reminds or prompts me as to what you are talking about. So start with one word per slide and add others only if necessary.

Do you really need a slide template?

Bigger companies and organisations seem to deem it necessary to have a slide ‘template’ which usually means their logo, name and some fancy colour scheme or subtle (or not so subtle ) background on every single slide!

It’s as though they are paranoid that between slides you as an member of the audience will completely forget who they are!

Templates make slides look identical to each other – and guess what – constant repetition is boring!

So ditch the templates and be creative!

Put on a show

Like it or not a presentation is a performance. You want to be memorable. Your audience may not remember all or even most of the detail of your presentation but you do want them to remember you.

I do a presentation called ‘5 top sales tips’ – I don’t use slides instead I use an old suitcase full of props to illustrate the 5 tips. It’s amazing how many people mention the suitcase long after the presentation. How many people remember your presentations?

Use Props

Ditching the slides or supporting them with props will make you more memorable – and a presentation with props is rarely boring!

Use your best presenter

Many presentations are executed by senior people within an organisation. Rarely are they the best presenters often because the higher their seniority the less inclined they feel the need to prepare and practice.

Your best experts or most senior people are not always your best presenters. If you were the CEO or Chairperson of a football club you wouldn’t take a crucial penalty would you? Of course not. It would be taken by the club’s best penalty taker. So find out who the best presenter in your company or organisation is and let them do the presentation.

Don’t use A4 notes

Presenters who turn up with A4 notes send out one of two messages : ‘I haven’t prepared for this so I need a script’ – ‘I don’t know anything about this so I need a script.’

There is a often a link between the size and length of notes and boring presentations. Generally speaking the more notes the speaker has the more boring the presentation. I would recommend a couple of postcards for your prompt words.

Make it fun

If the first reaction of your audience is ‘Oh no not another PowerPoint presentation’ then aim to make your presentation an enjoyable experience for everyone. Too many presentations are too serious in both their content and delivery.

Prepare well and Practice

Good preparation and some practice will make you feel more confident when delivering. That confidence in itself will make you more engaging and thus reduce the opportunity to be seen as boring.

If you need help preparing and delivering engaging presentations that get results please give me, Trevor Lee, a call on 07785 390717 or email me via