Developing and delivering a five-minute presentation seems like an easy task at first – until you realize that the compressed format actually requires significantly more efficiency, focus, and attention to detail than longer presentation types.
When there is less time to get your point across, every second counts.
While short presentations can be unexpectedly difficult to create, if done correctly, they can be more impactful than longer presentations.
Five minutes is just enough time to present a compelling narrative on a subject with no filler or fluff. The time limit forces you to pack as much valuable information as possible into your presentation while maintaining a coherent structure.
The shorter format also encourages audiences to pay more attention.
But how can you ensure that your short presentation gets everything it needs in just five minutes? We have put together a guide (condensed accordingly) for five-minute presentations to help you get started.
How many words is there in a 5 minute presentation?
A person speaks an average of 120 to 160 words per minute which means The average five-minute presentation is 600 to 800 words. That means that each word should be carefully chosen to support the central idea of your presentation.
As you make a longer presentation, you may be more concerned about transitions and keep the audience connected with larger narrative elements.
In a short presentation, everything you say should be tied directly to your central premise and further advance your main point. By keeping a narrow frame and using your words carefully, you will ensure that your time is not wasted and that the audience leaves with a clear, unique snack.
How many slides is there in a 5-minute presentation?
In general, you should stick to only five or six slides for a five-minute presentation, but there is no set limit to the number of slides you can use. You can choose between 20 slides and spend around 10 or 15 seconds on them, depending on the topic.
More important than your number of slides is what each slide contains. While keeping your slides simple and focusing on visual elements (rather than text) for any length presentation is a good rule, this is especially important when working with a compressed presentation window.
With a small window of time, it can be tempting to enter as much information as possible – resist the urge. Instead, focus on simple, clean graphics that are (again) all tied to your central premise.
If you’re concerned that reducing the size of your presentation will leave things out, add a slide at the end of the deck with additional resources and information for your audience to access after the presentation is over.
5 minute sample presentation format
If you’re looking for a starting point for your own five-minute presentation, we’ve created a basic overview below to help you organize your first thoughts in the planning phase.
You can assign a slide or multiple slides to each section if you want to split them up further.
They can vary in structure depending on the content or format of your presentation. Remember not to give your audience too much to chew on – the key here is – you guessed it – to associate each slide with a central idea.
An extremely brief introduction
Your first slide should serve as an introduction to the topic of your presentation. Try to limit your title to a maximum of six words. If your title is too long it can become unwieldy and your presentation can confuse your audience by covering too much.
Remember: your audience already has an idea of what you’re presenting at (hopefully!) So you don’t have to spend too much valuable time or move real estate explaining what you want to cover – just jump right in.
One problem slide
Most presentations can be reduced to a problem that you have identified, solved, or is being solved. Lead with this familiar narrative. This gives your presentation a clear starting point and prepares your audience for the rest of your slides.
A solution / analysis slide (s)
Now that your problem is introduced, let your audience know what they need to know about what you are doing about it. In shorter presentation formats, focus less on the details and more on the overall elements. Ask yourself: what does your audience need to know when they leave the room? Everything that falls into the “good to know” category can be cut in a follow-up e-mail after the meeting and sent to the stakeholders.
A final slide
The closing page allows you to end your presentation coherently and summarize the important takeaway points for your audience. Don’t skimp on your conclusion just because it’s a short presentation – it’s the last your audience will hear from you. A good finish reinforces the other information you presented and makes your presentation more memorable overall.
5-minute presentation examples
While we (unfortunately) weren’t in the room when these presentations were originally given – and therefore can’t confirm with 100% certainty that they only ran for five minutes – these decks are all clocking in with fewer than 15 slides and using a simple format to convey a problem and a solution.
1. AirBnB pitch deck
2. Buffer pitch deck
3. Mixpanel Pitch Deck
How do I create a 5 minute killer presentation?
Here are some best practices for creating a short presentation.
1. Focus on the most important part.
The biggest challenge in designing your presentation is choosing what to focus on. However, based on the format described above, you can see the importance of having a single requirement in designing your presentation.
It’s easy to get overambitious in your presentation or to be overwhelmed with the information you’re trying to present. Choosing a single idea to focus on gives you clarity in designing your language and allows you to cut out unnecessary information. It also provides a narrative structure that your audience can more easily grasp.
2. Do your research, check the facts and do it twice.
Your presentation is your chance to shine – but the shorter format also means that every point you make will be more visible, memorable and, consequently, more prone to review.
Take the time to do a thorough research of the topic of your presentation and ensure that each point you make is both technically correct and easy to understand. This puts you in a better position to answer questions and discuss your topic in depth. With a strong mastery of your subject, your delivery will also be more secure and compelling.
3. Appeal How People Learn Best: Stories.
A story can give your presentation meaning and turn it into more than just facts, figures and some eye-catching slides. Building your presentation on a simple, easy-to-understand narrative (like the problem / solution narrative we showed you in template avoidance) can help make your content more digestible. Your presentation will only take a few minutes, but the story you are telling needs to stay in your audience’s brain longer – and of course, stories help people understand and store information more easily.
4. Do not skip this tutorial.
Just because your presentation only lasts five minutes doesn’t mean you should try to spur it on. Your audience’s time is valuable and if you practice your presentation before delivering it to them, you can get the most of it.
From the CEO to the intern, everyone can benefit from practicing their presentations ahead of time, no matter how confident they are.
If you are able to deliver a lot (or everything) by heart, your delivery will be much more natural so you can build a stronger connection with your audience. And once the nerves are hit, you have the muscle memory to fall back on and carry you through the rough spots!
5. Relax and do not rush.
You only have five minutes to present. So it’s only natural to feel the pressure to go a little too fast. During your presentation, stay relaxed and avoid distractions, e.g. For example, when someone informs you that you only have a minute left.
Focusing on your own presentation will improve your delivery and give you more confidence, even if you’re usually scared of public speaking.
If you need to speed up your presentation to squeeze it into a five-minute window, this is a good sign that you are overdoing and considering trimming your slides.
You know your audience best
As you create your five-minute presentation, keep your audience in mind and design them to speak to them.
The information you want to highlight and the way in which you are going to organize it will vary significantly depending on who your presentation is for.
It is of course nervous to get into your presentation, especially if you don’t like speaking in public or if you are afraid to, but with enough consideration and practice you will be able to master any topic you want to present.