Ultimate 5 Minute Speeches & Presentations (A-Z Guide)

5 minute Speeches and Presentations

“If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” 

― Mark Twain

Delivering presentations and speeches can be challenging, especially if you have a short time. Covering the essential information you wish to convey and making an impact in these 5 minutes requires much backend work. The good news is that individuals are more likely to retain succinct but significant content than a long but tedious speech.

It’s important to remember some things when delivering a 5-minute speech, such as developing a thorough overview, allocating time for each slide, refraining from memorizing or monotonously reciting your information, using actions rather than words, including compelling visuals, sharing supplementary information for use after the speech, and practicing a lot more—at least three times more—than usual.

How Many Words are there in a 5-Minute Presentation?

Considering that an average person talks 120 to 160 words per minute, a five-minute presentation will typically be between 600 and 800 words long. When you deliver such a brief presentation, a few pointers need to be kept in mind –

  • Every statement you make during a brief presentation should be related to your main idea and the message you want to get through.
  • It is beneficial to avoid wasting time and make sure that the audience has only one clear takeaway by keeping your scope narrow and utilizing your words sparingly.

While this is just an average, it can vary depending on the speed at which you speak, the topic that you choose, and your thoroughness with the content. To know how many words you will be needing in a 5-minute presentation, you can –

  • Find out how many words are read in 5 minutes by timing yourself as you read a speech or an article.
  • Use useful internet resources like the Speech Calculator to determine how many words you will require based on your speech rate.
How many words in a 5 minute presentation

Tips to keep in mind for your 5-minute Presentation:-

1. Give a comprehensive overview

When you have just 5 minutes to give an interview, diving deep into the topic won’t help. Instead, providing an overview of the subject and subtopics can help introduce each point and not take up all the precious minutes. 

How to give an overview?

When giving an overview, there are some questions to tick that can help you know if you have covered the basics; such as:

  • What does this topic mean in 1-2 sentences? 
  • When can this information be useful to someone?
  • What impacts does this topic have in 1-2 sentences?
  • Where can you see its practical/theoretical application? 
  • How is this going to benefit my audience?

These are some basic questions, and if you notice, cover the basic WH questions. Thus, following the WH Pattern is helpful when you want to give a brief overview.

WH Questions in a 5 minute speech

2. Structuring The Presentation with Time Allocation 

Structuring your presentation is extremely important, irrespective of the style and pattern of presentation you opt for or the time you are allowed, since it provides a framework for your subsequent preparation. And when you have just 5 minutes, structuring it according to the time becomes more critical. 

Steps to Structure your Presentation

A general outline that progresses from the fundamentals to the particular should be used when preparing a presentation or speech. This will give those less familiar with the subject a quick overview of the topic before delving further. Here are some steps you may take if you’re wondering how to budget time and logically format your content –

  • General introduction of the content (1 minute) 
  • Aim/Objectives or the motives (1 minute) 
  • Body wherein you discuss the main content such as pros and cons, how it helps etc. (2 minutes)
  • Conclusion and feedback (1 minute) 

You can follow this general template; however, it is important to tailor it to your specific topic and style. To prevent running out of time, don’t forget to multiply your estimated time by the number of minutes.

If you’re seeking ideas on how to organize your speech, visit our blog 3 Ways To Structure A Speech The Professional Way where we help you plan out your next speech more professionally.

Structure your presentation

3. Avoid memorizing or monotonously speaking your content

Memorizing or reading from the content could seem like a good approach when you are short on time, but it is the opposite. Reading or learning the material is not advised because the audience may lose interest and zone out within the first 30 seconds. An improved strategy is understanding and presenting the material as a narrative or story. 

What can you do instead of memorizing? 

If you’re someone who needs chits or keywords to refer to, just speaking might be a difficult task for you. In such cases, you can complement your speech by –

  • Showing a slideshow of visuals that compliment your speech.
  • Make slips with keywords for each subtopic, so you know what to elaborate upon.
  • Storytell – Share personal life anecdotes and relate your content to them.

When you speak in a narrative style rather than reading, you grab the audience’s attention more and are better able to connect with them, determine whether they can understand the topic from their non-verbal cues, and adjust your delivery accordingly. As a result, genuinely comprehending your topic is considerably more beneficial for you and the audience than simply reading it from a piece of writing.

5 inute Speeches and Presentations

4. Use actions more than words

It is much said that actions speak louder than words, which is one trick to stick to when you have much less time and comments to express. Actions here include non-verbal gestures, body language, and facial expressions that convey the intensity of the message that you want to deliver. 

What are the different types of actions that you can use

A} Non-verbal gestures

Non-verbal gestures refer to the complimentary use of your hand expressions and body language to support a verbal point. As they are frequently accurate predictors of what you are saying, these behaviours are accorded a great deal of weight. Thus, if you want to draw the audience’s attention to any particular or central point, it is helpful to use hand gestures to imply them effectively.

There are various gestures that imply certain meaning, such as –

  • Pointing a finger to stress a particular word. 
  • Circling your hands to show a sign of moving to the next topic. 

Here is a video that tells you 10 hand gestures, their meaning, and how to use them effectively!

B} Facial expressions

Facial expressions refer to using your facial appearance to amplify your spoken words. Compared to a neutral expression, having a smile, making eye contact, or even having a shocking expression to a point has a lot greater impact. The audience is least likely to pay attention to what you’re saying and lose interest if you maintain a static expression.

Imagine if you had to look at a face that had a neutral look for 5 minutes and one with a jolly expressionist face.

Who would you most like look forward to and be interested to listen?

Your answer right there tells you the importance of facial expression.

Actions speak louder than words; you must use them effectively in these 5 minutes!

5. Include Visuals 

Five minutes is too short a time to speak about every detail, and that’s when visuals and graphics take the stage. Much like the famous quote, a picture is worth 1000 words, correctly chosen illustrations can complement your verbal speech and enhance the intensity by large.

Guidelines to follow when adding visuals 

It’s not difficult to add images and videos, but it’s crucial to pick the one that best conveys your message while also standing out. Thus, the following are some things to keep in mind when adding a photo or any other visuals:

  1. Is this photo self-explanatory, or do I have to allocate time to explain it?
  2. Are the videos easy to comprehend and cover the basics of my topic? 
  3. Have I added at least one picture to each subtopic I will cover? 
  4. Lastly, does the picture in any way hurt any sentiments? 

Visual communication can engage and attract the readers because they have something to look at when you are speaking. Thus, when both the modes of delivery are combined, it leads to a much better understanding and retention of the audience. 

Include Visuals in the presentation

6. Share additional post-speech resources

As much as you try, you cannot cover all the information you would if you had a 20-minute presentation against a 5-minute one. But now that you do have this task, it is a good idea to share some helpful post-speech resources that can help the audience delve deep into the topic if they wish to. 

Ways in which you can share additional information 

A} Videos: Recommending videos is one of the quickest and most effective ways to give some extra information. When researching your content, if you come across any videos that are too long to use in your presentation but are a valuable source of knowledge, linking them in the last to share it with the audience is a helpful thing, which in some ways can also convey the message that you are invested in the topic and want the audience to know more about it.  

B} Brochure: Although this might seem like a bit of work or a step forward, this is another excellent takeaway you can give. Brochures filled with a summary and more information on the topic can be a helpful guide for the audience to return to if they wish to explore the matter further.

Additional Post Speech Resources

7. Rehearse 3x times more 

It goes without saying that you should practice your speech or presentation, but given the time limit, it is advisable to practice for longer. This is because multiple rounds of practice will give you the following benefits –

A} Let you see if you finish the content structured in 5 minutes – The first time you practice the speech, you might be unable to complete it in the allotted time. Still, subsequent practice sessions will allow you to determine whether you are running on time or not, without rushing and efficiently covering all the points. Thus, if you finish late, you will have a lot to work on, such as speeding up or reducing the content, and if you finish early, you have precisely the opposite.

B} Allows you to become thorough with the content – The more you practice, the more you will become adept at knowing your material inside and out. This is advantageous because you will be able to describe it in terms that are much simpler to understand, create a narrative around it, provide instances to support it, and reiterate it if necessary.

C} You can see if your speech is understandable – When we prepare a speech, we may at times believe that it is logical and runs smoothly. However, by regularly practicing, especially in front of friends and coworkers, you can determine whether the material and flow are coherent and simple to follow, giving you time to correct and alter if there are any gaps or missing pieces as per the feedback.

Structure of a 5-minute Presentation

Your presentation should also be organized similarly to how a speech is – with a beginning, middle, and an end.


When you have just a few minutes to present, it’s important to have a captivating and attention-drawing statement that can keep the audience hooked to the latter part of the presentation. In such cases, you can –

  • open up with strong statements that might take the audience by awe – when you start a speech with some powerful and provocative statements on the topic, it can lure the audience into it because they might hold similar or different views and thus pay attention to support or argue their point.
  • start with a reflective question that puts the audience into thinking – if your topic was an investment and its returns, questions like “what would you do if you had 1 cr when you were 70” or “do you dream of a trip after your retirement?” such personal and reflective questions make the audience think that the speaker is going to answer a way to make them true, which can, in turn, tune them into the talk.

Thus, having an impactful beginning is vital to get the audience to stick around and focus for the rest of the talk.


With regards to the speech’s body, due to time constraints, it is crucial to keep the substance brief. When you have just a few minutes to cover the content, it is important to – refer to and follow the WH Question Rule that can help you cover all the basics of a topic in a short period of time.

What should be kept in mind though should be that – you should not try to delve deep into any sub-topic and stick to the basics only. Here the WH Questions help as they checklist all the basic questions that need to be answered in a 5-minute presentation.


In about the last 60 seconds, you should conclude your speech. Whilst delivering this, you must very effectively use the quality of Repetition – that is reiterate the main or central theme that you wish to stick with the audience. It is helpful to say one impactful line rather than summarizing more than the need and not letting the main point stand out.

Samples and Examples of a 5-minute speech

Despite the fact that there are plenty of 5-minute speeches and presentations online, some of them are incredibly well-written and presented. Here are a few videos you can watch to get an idea of what a five-minute presentation should be like.

The danger of silence by Clint Smith
What If I Had Three Minutes To Change The World? by Asia Greene

5-Minute Presentation Topics

Presentation topics on Science

  • Greatest Scientists and their discoveries
  • Human Evolution and progress of Man
  • Is there a parallel dimension?
  • Physics in everyday life
  • Emerging fields of Biology

Presentation topics on Technology

  • Android vs. Apple
  • Technology and its Evolution
  • Trends in Technology
  • Technology and its link to science, media, and other fields of education
  • Careers in the field of Technology

Presentation topics on Finance

  • What is Stock Market?
  • Financial Freedom and how to achieve it?
  • Investments in your life – from your 20’s to your 80’s
  • Basics of demand and supply
  • History and Future patterns of the economy

Presentation topics on Humanities and Arts

  • Positive Psychology
  • Gender Studies and its importance
  • Branches of Social Science and its advent
  • Careers in the field of Social Science
  • Literature – why humans crave reading and writing

Presentation topics on Media

  • History of Media and its Founders
  • Employment in the field of Media
  • Print Media vs Digital Media
  • Use vs. Abuse of Media
  • Is media the future?

Is Public Speaking Hard?

Speeches and Presentations are an integral part of our professional lives no matter what career we choose. Compelling presentations can be extremely helpful and effective provided all the necessary steps are taken beforehand.

Overall, public speaking can initially be a difficult task but it is not an impossible one; if all the stages and steps are followed, giving a speech can be a fairly simple undertaking.

If you are almost set to prepare your presentation but want to know more about the 5-minute presentation, ways to present, key tips, and much more, watch this video where we give you a visual guide to your next speech!

We hope that after this article, you’re all set to start your 5-minute presentation preparation!

If you are looking for a guide to your 30-minute or 10-minute presentation, then head onto our blog where we tell you everything you need to know from writing, topics, and delivery for your next speech!

Happy Presenting!

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