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Say It With Fewer Words

by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPA

You’ve got a great, major presentation, and suddenly you’re asked if you can get your message across in five minutes! Don’t panic. For today’s television generation, sound bites can be more powerful than lengthy dissertations. Here’s how to compress your speech without losing impact.

1. Don’t apologize or mention that you usually have much more time. Be confident that you can communicate in five minutes.

2. Begin fast. Start with a an attention-getting statement such as, “Your job won’t exist five years from now,” or “In the next 5 minutes I want to convince you the best action you can take is…”

3. Use a strongly visual story. Illustrate your points — how it is now, how it will or could be — with a story so vivid that the audience can “see” it.

4. Divide your 5 minutes into three parts. Present a problem, a payoff, and your point of view: “The number one piece of advice I can give you today is…,” your story illustrates your idea and your walk away line could be what will happen if they do what you suggest!

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Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE is a San Francisco-based executive speech coach and award-winning professional speaker on Change, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. She is the author of Get What You Want! and Past-President of the National Speakers Association.