You’re given 3 or 5 minutes to present.

3 minutes seems like barely enough time, but 180 seconds?

Now, that’s enough to create a TED worthy presentation, if you plan it well. Some things must go – a rambling opening or in-depth story.

Creativity, passion or expertise, and structure help you sail through short presentations.

First things first.

You need to figure out your topic or theme, if you haven’t been given one.  Choose something that:

  • Makes sense to you – a topic you know well or is close to your heart.
  • Keeps your audience in sync – use topics relevant, interesting or useful to them.
  • Remains simple but not dumbed down – use a practical or social aspect of a complex, technical, or scientific topic.
  • Follows a clear structure – the topic lends itself to a strong opening, attractive story and persuasive conclusion.

Next comes the actual structure you’ll adopt for your speech.


3-minute Wonder

Minute 1 – State the purpose, problem, myth or idea. Your opening statement hints at the topic and message you’re revealing.

Minute 2 – This is where you put forward the what and why.  An idea-story you want to share with them. The reasoning behind your claim. Proofs – stats or figures to back your statement. The solution they deserve.

Minute 3 – Summarize the above points. Reaffirm your message. Add a call-to-action. End with a motivating quote or thoughtful analogy.

Examples –

  1. 3 lifehacks in 3 minutes.
  2. Why black holes are the hoarders of our universe?


5-minute MAgic

Minute 1 – Introduce the topic and three main points or messages in a couple of sentences.

Minute 2 – Talk about your first point. Use an illustrative story to build an emotional connection.

Minute 3 – Move on to the next takeaway, add info in the form of data to back it up.

Minute 4– Get to the third point in your presentation. Use a graphic, audio, short video or other visual aids to back your claims or refute a common myth.

Minute 5 – Add a short conclusion in the form of a recap, summary or call-to-action. Leave them with an inspiring or thought provoking message.

Examples –

  1. 3 major policies of our departing president that sucked
  2. Why some countries don’t recover from a market crash

To summarize: Your interesting little speech has a general overview, your analysis, opinion, and final thoughts on the topic.


Have you delivered a short presentation? Do you have an ace up your sleeve that you’d like to share with us?

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