30-minute Presentations: Write and Deliver (Ultimate Guide)

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A woman giving her presentation.

Most of the time we find that presentations are doable. But 30-minute presentations? now that sounds scary. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Believe it or not, presentations have been an important part of our lives. From presenting our assignments in front of the entire class to presenting new developments and strategies to our organization’s heads; presentations unlike our exes are here to stay. 

Just like any other presentation, 30-minute presentations serve the purpose of introducing a new product, idea, or study to a group of individuals. 

It might be easier to gauge how to give a 5- 10 minute presentation but when it comes to 30 minutes, there are a few questions that need to be answered.

How many slides and words to include in a 30-minute presentation?

Ideally, a 15-30 slide presentation along with a 3000–6000-word speech should be sufficient to give a 30-minute presentation. 

We know that the range is quite large, so how would you know what works best for you?

It is quite simple. Assess your pace of presenting. 

Find any small speech on google or any other source, and record yourself presenting it as if you were giving the presentation in front of your audience. Once you are done, go back to the recording and check 2 things to understand your pace of presenting.

  1. How much time did it take for you to present the speech?
  2. Approximately how many words were you able to speak per minute?

You can follow the same activity to understand how many slides you should include in your 30-minute presentations.

So, for example, if it takes you 2 minutes on average to explain one slide, then 15 slides would be good for your 30-minute presentations.

A few Quick Tips before jumping into how to write and deliver 30-minute presentations.

Quick Tips for 30-minute Presentations

  • Keep your presentation simple and understandable.
  • Make your presentation both informative and eye-catching or aesthetic.
  • Avoid adding unnecessary slides or lengthy points to your slides.
  • Don’t face your back to the audience.
  • Don’t read from your slides.
  • Interact with the audience rather than simply talking for 30-minutes straight.

Now that we have understood some Dos and Don’ts of making a presentation, we can go ahead with our task of writing 30-minute presentations

Writing 30-minute presentations

Writing for 30-minute presentations is a 3 step process.

Let’s try to understand it better with this flowchart

Flowchart showing the three stages of writing for a presentation from ideation to research and finally structuring the content.

Ideation

Ideation is the very first and the most crucial step in writing any speech or presentation. 

Are you making a presentation for a job interview? Or a conference? Have they given you any broad topic? Is there anything specific that must be included in the presentation? What is something you have immense knowledge about? or find immense interest in talking about?

Answering all these questions will help you come up with a few possible topics for your presentation. 

Now let’s say you have come up with 3 topics and If you would like to present, how do you choose one out of these?

It is simple yet a little tricky. Pick a topic that is closest to serving your purpose for presenting. 

Your purpose is the answer to why you are presenting what you are presenting?

A few possible purposes of presenting could be,

  • To share a new point of view on a popular topic
  • To share new findings of a study
  • To make others understand the emergency of a situation
  • To motivate others to take action on some matter
  • To market your new product

And much more. 

In short, Ideation is answering the questions of what is your presentation all about and why are you presenting that specific topic to the audience?

Next, we move to research for presentations

Research

Research forms the core of your presentation. A well-researched presentation would have points to back, opinions to state, and data to show. But an effective presentation is not just well researched. The idea of putting across a new point of view is what makes it unique and effective. 

You can no doubt go to google, pick out the first couple of website links and make a presentation out of that information. Or you can do a google search, and understand what information is already out there and what isn’t. You can then proceed to give your insights or opinions on the points that have either not been discussed or discussed without much attention.

Another point to note is to screen out all the information while researching that doesn’t add any value to you and thus your audience. You can do that by finding information that suits your purpose of presenting the topic and screening out all others. 

You can also do a comparative analysis. If your purpose is to motivate your employees to do a certain task within a time limit, you can research how other organizations had completed a similar task with proper coordination among employees. 

This will make your presentation less predictable and more interesting. 

In short, there are 3 things to keep in mind while researching

  1. Understand what is out there and isn’t
  2. Give your unique Point of View
  3. Add content that adds value to your audience or aligns with your purpose of presenting the topic

Check out the short video below to understand the best ways to research for presentations. 

Structuring your presentation 

Once you are done researching, you’ll have some basic pointers that you feel are important and must be included in your presentation. 

You can divide your presentation into various segments for structuring the presentation. Two of the best ways to structure your presentation have been given below

The most basic structure for any presentation involves 3 segments 

3 segment presentations

  • Introduction for 5 minutes 
  • The main body for 20 minutes 
  • And Conclusion for 5 minutes 

We have all been taught the 3 segment structure of presentations since our school days. It includes introducing the topic than talking about the main body which forms a huge chunk of 30-minute presentations. The last step includes concluding your presentation within the last 5 minutes.

It is simple, easy to execute, and something the audience would likely be expecting.

4 segments

  • 2-5 minute introduction
  • 15-minute presentation
  • 2-5 minutes conclusion
  • 10 mins discussion

4 segment presentations are a little more interesting from the audience’s point of view as they too get a chance to contribute to your presentation by directly participating during the last few minutes. 

It is engaging and gives you enough time to explain. 

For this you can also use the 10/20/30 Rule which means using 10 slides, presenting for 20 minutes, and containing no font size less than 30. The rest 10 minutes can be used for a Q&A session.

The formats discussed above were the most basic ways you can tackle 30-minute presentations. However, you are free to add 5, 6, or even 7 segments to your presentation, whatever you feel is more comfortable for you. 

For a proper guide on how to segment your presentation into more than 4 parts, Check out 5 ways to tackle a 30-minute presentations.

Delivering 30-minute presentations

You can have a perfectly written and on-point presentation but if you somewhere are not able to deliver it effectively, then you might not be doing justice to your presentation. 

When it comes to 30-minute presentations, one thing that you must keep in mind is that you have enough time in your hands to elaborate on points from a speaker’s perspective But from an audience’s perspective, that would mean listening continuously to someone present for 30 minutes straight. 

So to avoid presenting to an unhappy audience, the very first point in delivering 30-minute presentations effectively is to, 

1. Interact with the audience

Ways in which you can interact and engage the audience is to add a quick question or a quiz or even polls.

Asking questions can be done in two ways, one wherein you expect the audience to answer your question and the other when you want the audience to think about the question you just asked, not expecting an answer from them. 

So an example of the first situation would be, “What is one thing that makes you anxious about public speaking?” while that of the latter would be “Have you ever wondered that maybe you aren’t inherently bad at public speaking but just afraid of failing at it?”

2. Use Props

Make use of props if your presentation allows you to do so. Props make it much easier to understand any concept. They also help in keeping the audience’s attention on you.

An example of this would be If your presentation is about the launch of a new product, then the product itself can be a prop.

But that was just an example. Literally, anything can be used as a prop. Set your creative mind free to find a unique and innovative prop idea for your next 30-minute presentation.

3. Add quotes, stats, and tables 

Adding quotes by famous personalities, or stating statistics and tables instantly make our presentation more credible. It is also something different for the audience to look at than merely a few bullet points on the screen or us, the speakers on the stage.

4. Humor

The last point which can improve the delivery of your presentation is when you add humor to it. A non-offensive joke or dig at oneself can easily make people laugh. However, do not overdo self-deprecating jokes or pick on audience members.

These are general points that you can include while delivering your presentation, there are a few other variables that come into the picture when you are delivering a presentation in a group setting or in an online setting

30-minute Group Presentations

Group of people before their presentation.

Group presentations can turn out to be either a wonderful experience for you or a messy one. They require more attention to transition, fair distribution of work, and an immense amount of practice and coordination among the group members

To give an epic group presentation one of the first major tasks is to identify the strengths of each group member. You might find that someone is a little shy while presenting but has more knowledge about a certain sub-topic. Or someone else who has an immense experience in public speaking and can confidently deliver the presentation without knowing the topic in its entirety. 

Thus, identifying the strengths of members and distributing the presentation accordingly can help strengthen the group’s presentation overall. 

Transitions are another point that requires dedicated effort from the group members. How many times has it happened that after one speaker is done speaking, there is a minute or 2 of awkward silence as the transition of speech from one person to the other hasn’t been worked on properly and so the other person has no clue when to begin. 

To avoid such chaos and waste of time, make sure the flow of your presentation is known to each member. You can do that by following the CIIH method 

CIH stands for Conclusion, Intrigue, Introduction, and Handover. 

An example of this is given below:

Thus we can understand how your diet has a huge impact on how you feel and your mental health overall (Conclusion). But Another thing that plays a crucial role when we talk about the impact of lifestyle on mental health is exercise (Intrigue). To enlighten us on how exercising can affect your mental health, I’d like to call my team member Xyz, who also happens to be a fitness trainer and mental health advocate (Introduction). Xyz? (Handover)

Check out our blog How to present with a group (14 expert tips) for some quick tips for your upcoming group presentation.

One of the best group presentations you can find on youtube is the one given by a team of Harvard MBA students on the topic of Delivering successful team presentations. 

Check it out to observe how transitions can be used in groups and also to understand more about delivering excellent group presentations.

30-minute Online Presentations

Online audience on the Laptop screen of the presenter.

Online presentations are one of the most convenient ways to present your topic. But again there are some dos and don’ts that you must keep in your mind while delivering online presentations to make them effective. 

1. Avoid distractions

When you deliver an online presentation, be it from your home or your workplace, try your best to avoid any distractions. By distractions we mean close your doors to avoid anyone from entering your room; close your windows to avoid the traffic or construction noise to ruin your presentation.

2. Screen share your presentation

If possible, try to screen share your presentation yourself rather than having someone else do that for you. But if you can’t, then make sure to let the person know exactly when to change the slides so as to avoid wasting everyone’s time.

Another thing to keep in mind while presenting is to stop sharing your screen once you are done!

3. Keep your camera on

Keep your camera on while presenting even if it isn’t mandatory. The reason is quite simple, You are not in front of the audience which already makes it easier for them to drift in their thoughts. Imagine their level of boredom while seeing a blank screen and listening to a 30-minute presentation! The least you can do is to have your camera on.

4. Engage your audience

Online presentations make it so much easier to engage your audience. You can share a link to some google form, take an online poll, ask them to join a link for a quick quiz or even share a youtube video link. 

If the presentation is in a group setting, then you can also ask one of the members to stay active in the live chat section to clarify your audience’s doubts as soon as you can. 

To know more about engaging an audience in online presentations, check out this short video on 7 Effective ways to engage a virtual audience.

30-minute Presentations for Job Interview

A man happily giving his job interview.

Besides the points discussed above in the blog, Job interview presentations would require you to look into a couple more things. 

One of the first things is to research the panel. Check out who is going to assess you. Once you have some information about them, research these individuals. Try to find out the areas they have worked in, the research they have contributed to, the big projects they have managed, and anything else that helps you understand their career trajectory. 

The second thing to keep in mind is to understand that even though the presentation is to understand your achievements and assess your presentation and people skills, you are still being assessed on why you will be the right candidate for that particular post. 

So, make the presentation about yourself in a way that would be beneficial to the organization

Treat your slides like sign boards on roads, enough to get people’s attention but not enough to distract them from driving, in our case the presentation. Keep it simple. Make sure to reveal only the information which is required. 

If you want an example to see how you can make a presentation for your job interview then check out Example Presentation For Job Interview.

How many times should you practice for a 30-minute presentation?

One thing that stays common to all presentations is the amount of time you practice. 

Practicing 4-5 times should be good enough to give a good presentation. However, the more you practice, the more you get used to the content of your presentation, and the better you might be able to deliver it on stage.

So, try to practice as much as you can, be it in front of people or by recording yourself. Ask for feedback or assess the recording yourself to see where you can improve

But what happens when you have no time to practice or worse even no time to prepare for your presentation? 

Don’t worry we’ve got a solution for that as well.

Giving 30-minute presentations without any preparation

A few quick steps that you can take a look into to prepare a presentation when you barely have any time left. 

Writing a 30-minute presentation last minute

Don’t write the speech word for word.

Try to jot down what points you want to include in your presentation rather than spending tons of your time coming up with a speech for your presentation.

Another reason to avoid writing an entire speech a couple of hours before presenting is that you don’t have enough time to practice which will make it difficult for you to memorize the speech in time. Thus, increasing your probability of going blank on stage. 

Structuring your presentation without any preparation

Follow simple structures that will help you recall all the information within a short span of time. 

A couple of ways in which you can structure your presentation or sections of your presentation are:

1. Problem-Solution

As the name suggests introduce a problem, elaborate on it, and then provide a solution to that problem. 

2. PREP model

A very effective way of structuring presentations is to use the PREP model which stands for Point, Reason, Example, Point. 

In simple terms, introduce a point, elaborate on it, give an example to support your reason and then restate the point to conclude

Delivering presentation without any preparation

There are 3 things you must focus on while presenting

1. Hands

Make use of functional hand gestures which means supporting what you speak with gestures that indicate the same thing. An example would be moving your hand diagonally from the bottom up to show an increase in sales with the coming-in of the festival sale.

2. Face

If you have no control over your expressions, then you might not have to worry a lot about them while presenting as you are already good at them. The only thing would be to ensure that you are not overdoing your expressions.

On the flip side, if you find it difficult to express anything through your face, then you can try to keep a warm welcoming smile on your face to not scare off your audience members.

3. Eyes

Maintain decent eye contact with your audience members. But if maintaining eye contact is not your thing or you don’t feel confident to do it, then you can look into the space between two audience members. You can also look at their foreheads or chin to avoid looking into their eyes while at the same time giving an illusion that you are good with eye contact. 

Check out our blog on How to Prepare for a Speech How to Prepare for a Speech When You Have No Time to Prepare? for a more detailed understanding of the topic.

Best 30-minute presentations

1. Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is famous for his motivational talks and presentations. In one such presentation, He talked about how “Most Leaders Don’t Even Know the Game They’re In.”

The presentation is amazing because of his outstanding way of presenting and his use of hand gestures. He also makes use of an audience member’s phone as a prop to prove his point.

Beginning his presentation with “I’m embarrassed of my career” he makes the audience wonder why would someone so successful ever say that?

He also makes use of humor throughout his presentation. One such example was when he was explaining how putting phones on the table sends a message that the other person isn’t as important to you. he says “And by the way, putting your phone upside down is not polite” which has the viewers laughing to this day.

2. Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson talks about Where can hunger for Discovery take us. The reason why I believe it is a wonderful 30-minute oral presentation is because of the way he keeps his audience engaged throughout. He makes them laugh every now and then.

He takes a poll and asks the audience members to raise their hands if they believe they possess those skills. And he also asks them rhetorical questions.

Topics for 30-minute Presentations

Most Common 30-minute Presentation Topics

  • Population Explosion
  • plastic recycling and its importance
  • Global warming
  • Soil Conservation
  • The 3R’s Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce
  • The harmful effects of eating junk
  • Climate crisis
  • The hunger crises
  • The rising gap between rich and poor
  • Water pollution
  • Are we prepared for the next pandemic?
  • Industrial pollution
  • How to deal with pollution
  • Sustainable Fashion
  • The Brain Drain problem

Interesting 30-minute Presentation Topics

  • Evolution of the concept of marriage
  • RBI and the Rasputin of India
  • Women who built nations
  • Cryptocurrency: The Future of Money!
  • Cashless economy
  • Inside the world’s biggest slums
  • Cybersecurity: not so safe after all.
  • Secret societies and their secrets
  • Rainbow company logos in June
  • Hustle Culture: Pros and Cons
  • Cyber-terrorism: The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes
  • Ethics of human cloning
  • Influence of media on innovation in technology
  • Spiritualism: a mere trend or a belief
  • IOS vs Android

30-minute Presentation Topics for College students

  • Paperless school environment
  • Everything you need to know about the Bermuda Triangle
  • Try Offline, Buy Online
  • Peer Pressure vs Parental Pressure
  • Death of print media by internet
  • Academic pressure and the rise in teen suicides
  • Is a college education worth it?
  • Influence of pop culture on youngsters
  • Robot communication
  • Risks of online dating
  • Role of media in creating unrealistic body standards
  • Sex Education in Schools
  • Is following your passion a practical decision?
  • School shooting: Are the children really safe?
  • Normalizing mental health disorders

30-minute Presentation topics for Professionals

  • Job vs Starting up
  • Ethics of Business
  • Is work-life balance a myth
  • Impact of employee satisfaction on the productivity of the organization
  • A rise in Work from home jobs
  • Will AI make you jobless?
  • The fast-changing career fields
  • The need for upskilling employees
  • The big resignation
  • Pros and Cons of Capitalism
  • Toxic work environment
  • Importance of people skills in the workplace
  • How to avoid information theft
  • Evolution of Entrepreneurship
  • Success stories of Family-owned businesses

Final Words

Presentations are an interesting and creative way of introducing any new product, idea, or opinion to your audience.

30-minute presentations award us enough time to cover all important points. However, understanding your audience’s stance and interacting with them can prove to be an effective way of presenting.

For 30-minute job interview presentations, it is important to research well or know enough about the panelists. Also maintaining your professionalism and selling the panelists how you can be an asset to the company can help you ace your job interview presentation.

Lastly, there are no set rules for writing and delivering presentations. So you can make the presentation in any way that you feel suits your interests best.

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