Writing a short speech is often much harder than writing a long one. Because you only have a small amount of time, it can feel like a lot of pressure to deliver important information. Writing a five-minute speech doesn’t need to be a complex task. Even if you are asked to speak at the last minute, you can outline the speech quickly in your head by relying on a few important speech writing techniques.
5-Minute Speech Topics
In business, there are many situations where you may be asked to give a five-minute speech. Some situations where you may need to give a short speech include:
- Introducing a new employee to the staff
- Speaking to staff about key company updates
- Motivating employees before an important event
- Providing investors with key business updates
- Pitching services to customers and prospects
Regardless of what your five-minute speech is on, it’s important to take the time to carefully craft what you’re going to say. You don’t want to go off-topic and risk wasting your allotted time talking about something that isn’t relevant to your audience.
Create an Outline
A simple outline can make a 5-minute speech on anything more effective. Start your outline by creating minute-long sections of your speech. The middle three minutes are reserved for the key points you want to make in your speech. For example, if you’re speaking to employees about company updates, you can use those three minutes to talk about your sales numbers, organizational updates and new offerings.
The last minute of your speech is to sum up the main point of your message. If there is only one thing your audience takes away from your speech, what should it be? That is what you want to focus on in your last minute. For example, you can close by talking about how proud you are of your employees and recognize the hard work they have put in.
The first minute of your speech is reserved for the introduction. It’s often easier to write this section last after you’ve written the rest of your speech because you have a good idea of the themes you’re going to be touching on. Many strong orators start their speeches with a question or a personal story because it helps to make everyone feel at ease. For example, ask the staff whether they have a favorite moment from the last quarter, and share your favorite moment.
Stay Focused on the Topic at Hand
The key to writing a great five-minute speech is to cut out any unnecessary information. Use the time you have wisely by only focusing on the topic at hand. Resist the urge to go on tangents that don’t directly relate to your topic.
For example, when updating employees about the progress of the company, don’t start talking about the exciting marketing plans you have for the next quarter. Reserve that information for a different speaking opportunity as you won’t be able to cover everything in those five minutes.
Rehearse Your Five-Minute Speech Out Loud
Once you have written down your five-minute speech, practice saying it out loud. Time yourself to see how long it is. If you’re going over time, it means you need to cut out some details. If you’re way under five minutes, you have the opportunity to add in more information. If you’re coming in right at five minutes, you’ll still want to cut out some information. It’s always best to have about a 30-second buffer in case you spend more time on a section than you planned for.
Once you’ve got just the right amount of content for your speech, highlight the salient points of each sentence with a highlighter pen to give you visual cues about the speech. This way, you won’t need to read your speech word for word. You can just focus on the highlighted sections to jog your memory about that section and then you can extrapolate the rest. This appears much more natural than reading the entire speech.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.